KEY POINTS

  • Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni will not return next season
  • D’Antoni used a unique small ball system as part of his main strategy
  • New Orleans Pelicans have been linked as a possible location for D’Antoni

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has announced that he will not be returning to coach the team in the coming season. There has also been word that D’Antoni could be headed to the New Orleans Pelicans.            

It was a rough ending for the Rockets as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated them in five games in their second-round matchup. Despite the efforts of James Harden, the Rockets were unable to topple LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ Lakers.

"It's with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we'll be moving to a new chapter," D'Antoni told ESPN.

The veteran coach's unique small ball play could benefit young sensation Zion Williamson, if rumors of his shift to the Pelicans have some truth to them. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor had tweeted that D'Antoni could take up the job with Pelicans. The latest coach of the Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, served as D’Antoni’s assistant during their days with the Phoenix Suns.  

“Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said.

One of the key highlights of D’Antoni’s stay with Houston was when he led the high-powered offense of the Rockets and rolled out a strategy of no true center patrolling their lineup. Although it was highly criticized, the Rockets were still able to compete at the highest level.

“He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have had such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons,” Fertitta said.

The coaching ability of D’Antoni is anchored heavily on offense and scoring in high volumes. This was evident in his groundbreaking seven-seconds-or-less stint with the Suns during the mid-2000s.

It will be interesting to see how the Rockets and D’Antoni will move on in the coming season. There will be adjustments to come into the league with this development.

Mike D'Antoni Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni is confident his team will perform well in the playoffs. In this picture, D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 27, 2019. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images