Mike D’Antoni is widely expected to not return to the Houston Rockets as head coach next season, which has led to speculation about who could eventually replace him. This week, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the Rockets could join the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets in pursuing Tom Thibodeau.
“The Thibs thing landed strangely with me,” said Sam Amick of The Athletic on the Brodie and the Beard podcast.
“Jeff Van Gundy’s name is the one that I have heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike,” said Amick.
“It’s interesting to see Thibs’ name in there now because you’ve got a guy who was Jeff’s top assistant when Jeff was the Rockets’ coach. And a guy who, in terms of like the optics around Tom, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster the past couple of years. He was labeled, essentially, like kind of a dinosaur who was too tough on his players and did not assimilate with today’s NBA during the end of that Minnesota stay. But I think Jimmy Butler going off to Miami. Jimmy Butler continuing to vouch for Thibs in interviews. Jimmy Butler continuing to tell the world that Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and company were the problem and not the coach. I think that could possibly resonate with owners, with GMs. Maybe you have a little more of an appetite for this tough love style.
“Van Gundy and Thibs being from the same tree, whatever happens next, I think you’re starting to get a sense of what might be prioritized. Obviously defense first. Discipline.”
Amck also suggested former Rockets’ owner Les Alexander played a role in firing Van Gundy and also choosing D’Antoni over Van Gundy in 2016.