Meltser: Rockets "Don't Really Want D'Antoni Back"

By offering Mike D'Antoni "a lousy deal," the Rockets showed just how little they value their head coach

May 31, 2019 - 8:31 am
Mike D'Antoni Rockets

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Mike D’Antoni will coach the Houston Rockets next season. Beyond that, however, is anyone’s guess, as contract-extension talks between D’Antoni and the Rockets ended Thursday.

“They don’t really want Mike D’Antoni back, but they’re not really willing to fire him,” Houston radio host Mike Meltser said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They offered him $4 million with incentives. This reminds me of when the Yankees offered Joe Torre that bizarre contract extension where they’re like, ‘Hey, we’re going to give you a bunch of incentives if you reach and win the World Series.’ Everyone is like, ‘What the hell? This guy has won four World Series. He’s obviously trying to win anyway.’”

You could say the same about D’Antoni, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year who almost always has his team in the mix.

“Nobody is more incentivized to win than Mike D’Antoni, and the deal they offered Mike D’Antoni just seemed like a lousy deal,” Meltser said. “They weren’t really giving him much of a raise, it was very incentive-based, and it wasn’t really the going rate for a coach of his quality. The problem is even if you want to fire Mike, there’s no obvious upgrade for them given that they want to win a championship, and there’s not a coach out there who you look at and say, ‘That guy is a clear upgrade over Mike D’Antoni.”

As for Daryl Morey’s reported willingness to trade anyone on the roster, Meltser isn’t buying it.

“They’re not trading James Harden,” he said. “There’s a better chance they trade Tilman Fertitta, the owner, than they trade James Harden. Would I be willing to trade Clint Capela? Sure but I’m worried about selling low on a guy. Yes, Clint has been bad against Golden State, but this is a 25-year-old center who’s getting paid good money – but not great money – who’s a perfect fit with James Harden. (He’s) athletic, he’s young, he runs up and down the court, and he can play good defense. If I’m trading a guy like Clint Capela, I got to make sure I’m getting an asset back – a younger player who can really help me out. If I’m any team in the NBA who’s looking to build, I would absolutely love to add a guy like Clint Capela.”

Click below to listen to Meltser’s interview in its entirety.