Mike D’Antoni has ended talks with the Rockets about a contract extension, ESPN reported Thursday.
D’Antoni has one more season remaining on his current deal and will return to coach a final year in Houston, according to the report.
The 68-year-old D’Antoni has taken the Rockets to a new level in the regular season in his three seasons there, as he’s compiled a 173-73 mark. But the Rockets have been ousted the past two years from the playoffs by the Warriors in disappointing circumstances, losing a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference finals last season and then falling to a hobbled Golden State squad, 4-2, in the semifinals this season.
Those outcomes raised questions about whether the Rockets would look to extend D’Antoni. After a 65-win season in 2017-18, the Rockets regressed to 53 wins and a fourth-place finish in the West. Chemistry was an issue early, with the team trying to work Carmelo Anthony into the rotation. D’Antoni has also come under criticism from some for his use of strange rotations and game management, such as his use of timeouts.
Yet D’Antoni revealed to ESPN earlier this month he had begun talking about an extension that would keep him with the Rockets at least three more years.
“I’ve let (general manager) Daryl (Morey) and (team owner) Tilman (Fertitta) know that I’m energized to keep coaching — and believe that I can continue to do this at a high level for at least another three years,” D’Antoni said. “I want to be a part of a championship here.”
D’Antoni’s status seemed to take a turn for the worse last week following reports that the team had fired several of his assistants.