The Houston Rockets have been in the market for a head coach for some time now, as the team’s former coach, Mike D’Antoni, opted to walk away following the expiration of his contract at the end of the season. According to a new report, Houston’s search is not only moving along, but there is a candidate generating some amount of excitement right now.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN, former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue has piqued the interest of the Rockets’ decision makers. The pair write that Lue “has gathered significant momentum” in the search, in part due to the fact that he had a meeting with the organization on Monday.
Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue’s candidacy for the Rockets’ head-coaching job has gathered significant momentum after a meeting with Houston’s ownership and management Monday, sources told ESPN.
The Rockets are competing with the Clippers for Lue and could try to extend an offer before Los Angeles has completed its search process, but that isn’t expected to happen before Houston meets with former coach Jeff Van Gundy this week, sources said.
Lue would be a fascinating hire for the Rockets, as his strengths as a coach are his locker room management and how he coaches up an offense. Both of these things would be really good in Houston — where, ESPN reports, “prominent players” support him, something that also applies to L.A. — with his offensive acumen being particularly interesting in a franchise that has a defined way of playing on that end of the floor. Houston is a tricky job due to the team’s cap situation and the dearth of long-term assets it has at its disposal following the Russell Westbrook trade last year, but for a team in win-now mode, hiring a guy like Lue seems sensible. The question may be what team Lue prefers between the Rockets and Clippers, as he’s the expected frontrunner in L.A. as well.