The rumor mill fired up rather quickly following the departure of Rockets head coach Rick Adelman from the team on Monday evening. Just who will the Rockets look to bring in to replace the venerable head coach? From early rumors, it looks like Stan Van Gundy and Mike Brown are the most talked about pair, while the Rockets will interview some of their own assistant coaches and some of the league's most well-regarded assistants as well. Here's the original list that the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen came up with:
Stan Van Gundy, Mike Brown, Mike Woodson, Jeff Van Gundy, Elston Turner, Jack Sikma, Dwayne Casey, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Malone, Lawrence Frank, Mario Elie, Larry Brown, Mike Dunleavy.
Feigen says that the first interviews will go to Sikma, Turner, and Elie:
The first interviews, however, will go to Elston Turner, Jack Sikma and Mario Elie. They would need to wow Morey and Alexander in interviews, which will mean showing an emphasis on developing players.
Sounds like they're tertiary candidates at best from that description. But you never know.
The two big camps at this point seem to be the established camp where Van Gundy rules the roost, and the "find the next Tom Thibodeau" camp which seems to have taken up Mike Budenholzer as their cause. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski commented on both of these, saying the Rockets would have a strong interest in Van Gundy if the Magic let him go after the season:
Stan has job in Orlando but if he becomes available after playoffs, he's held in high regard within Rockets. Jeff still lives in Houston.
On the "next coaching superstar search," he has this to say:
Others believe Rockets want to go unconventional and try to unearth the next big coaching star. Well, who doesn't? Easier said than done.
While Feigen adds, on the prospect of Budenholzer:
If Tom Thibodeau's success leads to the start of the next trend - and any second thoughts about letting him get out of town - San Antonio's Mike Budenholzer, long, longtime Popovich assistant, would fit that mold.
Personally, I think I'd steer my cart in the direction of Budenholzer. Not only should the Rockets be chasing great rather than solid, but the idea of simultaenously weakening the Spurs has to be tempted. I'd also consider Casey, who was doing some pretty decent things with the Timberwolves in comparison to what their other coaches have done recently. The Van Gundy boys also make plenty of sense.
There is certainly no lack of candidates in this one. Look for the Rockets to spend quite a bit of time deciding who the best candidate will be out of this group.