Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni interviews for lead job in Portland

·2 min read

Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni interviewed Monday with the Portland Trail Blazers for their head coaching vacancy, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Known best for his innovative and guard-friendly schemes on offense, D’Antoni is currently an assistant coach with Brooklyn after choosing not to return to Houston last offseason.

If hired, the 70-year-old would be joining one of Houston’s longtime rivals in the Western Conference. Potentially, he could use superstar guard Damian Lillard in a similar manner to the system that allowed James Harden to have some of the best years of his Hall of Fame career.

D’Antoni ranks No. 21 in all-time wins as an NBA coach, and No. 22 in coaching victories during the playoffs. He finished his Houston tenure (2016-17 through 2019-20) in the No. 2 spot in both categories, trailing only Hall of Fame coach and two-time NBA champion Rudy Tomjanovich. He’s the top coach in Rockets history by winning percentage.

The Rockets replaced D’Antoni with a much younger coach in Stephen Silas, which could be a better fit for the organization’s rebuilding timeline — brought on by Harden’s forced departure. On the other hand, Lillard turns 31 years old in July, which likely gives Portland much more of a “win now” emphasis. As such, D’Antoni should get heavy consideration.

The Blazers will also interview Los Angeles Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups and San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon in the coming days as part of their ongoing search to replace Terry Stotts.

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