Having interviewed Dwane Casey, Lawrence Frank, and Kevin McHale twice each, the Houston Rockets are close to hiring their next head coach, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. However, “no clear favorite has emerged” in the race, and Rockets management, led by team owner Leslie Alexander, has yet to formally offer the job to any of the three candidates.
One can understand, given the details of Berger’s report, why Houston has yet to make a hire. Because “all three candidates have presented compelling visions for the team,” for one, but also because each prospective coach’s plan has elements that clash with what Rockets management would like to see.
The Rockets job became available when the team decided not to let Rick Adelman’s contract expire, despite a 193-135 (.588) record over four seasons at the helm through considerable adversity, including the absence of franchise center Yao Ming.
Casey, a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach, won’t be available until the NBA Finals end, which could be as late as June 16. His head-coaching record spans less than two seasons, with an unimpressive 53-69 (.434) record, but he’s probably best known for what happened after the Minnesota Timberwolves fired him in 2007. At the time, they had a 20-20 record; they went 12-30 the rest of the way under interim head coach Randy Wittman.
Frank owns a career 225-241 (.483) record as a head coach, all with the New Jersey Nets, marred by an 0-16 mark to start the 2009/10 season. Last season, he joined Doc Rivers’ coaching staff with the Boston Celtics, a job for which he’s probably overqualified.
McHale coached the Timberwolves to an impressive 19-12 (.613) finish to the 2004/05 season, and returned to the sideline during the 2008/09 campaign after Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor fired Wittman; odd how McHale and Casey intersect here. With a less gifted roster, the Wolves closed with a 20-43 (.317) record under McHale, who now enjoys a career as an analyst for TNT.