As speculation continues to circle around regarding D’Antoni’s coaching future in Houston, general manager Daryl Morey is here to put that to rest. During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, the Rockets GM ensured D’Antoni’s job security despite the team’s rough 4-3 start.
Rockets Won’t Be Firing Mike D’Antoni — For Now
Morey says it’s way too early to drawn conclusions on the team considering it’s only seven games in. While he did stress confidence in the team’s current group of players and coaching staff, he did indicate that changes could be abound after 20 games in.
“Morey remains firmly behind [Mike] D’Antoni, citing the top-ten defense the coach oversaw in Houston’s 65-win, 2017-18 season as evidence D’Antoni can get it done. He sees a roster that defended well last year as capable of rediscovering its identity. “I’m very confident that we have the right players and coaching staff, and that we have the defense,” Morey told SI.com. “I know that sounds crazy. I know I have said stuff like this in the past. We just have to have the right execution. [Seven] games in, we have played a mix of teams. Our shot making has made us look worse than we are. Maybe [after] 20 games, if we are still struggling, then we’ll have to take a look at things.”
It’s worth mentioning that Morey — an analytics guy — made the decision to move on from Carmelo Anthony last season after just 10 games in.
It looks like Morey is changing his procedure of judgement after just 10 games to 20 games this time around.
Daryl Morey: Too Early For Rockets to Make a Trade
If you’re wondering whether Morey will swing a trade anytime soon, he’s ruling that out of the equation also. The 47-year-old GM cites the reason being that most of the league isn’t even eligible to be traded until December — newly-signed free agents can’t be traded until mid-December by rule — and that once again, it’s way too early in the season to be making major trades.
Via Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“It’s early for that. Most of the league isn’t even tradeable until December, mid-December. … I feel like we have what we need right now. That doesn’t mean that something won’t come along. But it’s not like last year, where we really felt like we needed to add something and Austin (Rivers) came along and gave us a lot. I really think this group could be the group that we have at the end of the year. Obviously, we’re going to have to show that, but I don’t feel the need to address anything right now. It’s so early, we don’t totally know exactly how things are going to work.”
The fact that D’Antoni is also in the last year of his deal and that there have been no ongoing talks regarding a contract extension has left the veteran head coach looking like a lame duck.
While Morey may not be ready to make changes just yet, you can be assured that if the Rockets continue to struggle this season, D’Antoni won’t remain as head coach until the end of the season.