Yahoo’s! Adrian Wojaorowski reported over the weekend that ex-Timberwolves coach and general manager Kevin McHale is the frontrunner for the Rockets coaching gig. McHale reportedly had a great interview with Houston late last week and could receive an offer sometime this week.
McHale made a strong final impression in conversations with Houston officials on Thursday in Chicago, and could receive a formal offer in the next week.
The Rockets are still deliberating on different scenarios involving the three finalists, sources say, but McHale is the candidate to beat for the job. Rockets owner Les Alexander must still ultimately sign off on the recommendation of GM Daryl Morey and his front office staff.
It would be nice to dismiss this story, as The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen has basically done, because Les Alexander hasn’t called the shot yet. Woj has a pretty strong track record though, and while McHale didn’t fit the mold of the other two coaching candidates, perhaps that just speaks more to how impressive he has been to the Houston operations staff.
SB Nation’s Tom Ziller says that picking McHale would be both brilliant and terrifying, and speculates that McHale would not be tied to Rockets GM Daryl Morey:
This is the bet by Morey and the Rockets should McHale get the job: that hiring a basketball warrior will either work in perfect concert with Morey’s numbers-based personnel decisions, or that hiring a basketball warrior will deflect enough criticism to save Morey’s job if Houston continues to struggle.
Consider the alternative. Consider Frank, who has proven himself as an NBA coach but who has a reputation more in fitting with Morey than most options. The brainy type, not the brawny type. If Morey hired Frank and the Rockets struggled, it’s not just Frank at risk. It’s Morey. If the GM stays inside of his wheelhouse, that wheelhouse is going to begin to be questioned.
I think that’s a huge leap. The Rockets organization isn’t going to hire someone just for the sake of deflecting criticism. Hell, the only person who really criticizes them now is Jerome Solomon, and he criticizes everybody who doesn’t get much criticism. If anything, it would make more sense to avoid hiring McHale because he would be the risky candidate as compared to Frank and Casey.
But to each his own. It seems likely that the Rockets will make some movement on this in the coming week, so keep it here and we’ll update you as news comes down.