Less than six months after joining the organization, Sixers assistant coach Mike D'Antoni will be leaving to become the head coach of the Houston Rockets, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. D'Antoni interviewed for the job less than a week ago, and narrowly beat out Charlotte Hornets assistant Scott Silas. This will be D'Antoni's fifth head coaching job and the sixth NBA team he's worked for.
The 65-year-old former player joined Philadelphia's staff in December after spending nearly 18 months out of basketball once he was relieved of head coaching duties for the Los Angeles Lakers. After his hiring, Sixers head coach Brett Brown described him as "a hell of a resource and a hell of a coach".
Once Jerry Colangelo took over the Sixers organization as Chairman of Basketball Operations, there were concerns that he would opt to get rid of Brown in favor of D'Antoni, as the pair's relationship dated all the way back to their time with the Phoenix Suns. Colangelo was the owner of the team at the time, and D'Antoni joined the coaching staff as an assistant in 2002 before becoming the head coach in 2003.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo reiterated that Brown would be the team's head coach back in April, but D'Antoni's whisking away to Houston legitimately confirms that.
Wojnarowski also reported last week that if D'Antoni was hired by the Rockets, P.J. Carlesimo would be a top candidate to replace him. The 66-year-old Carlesimo has not held a coaching position since 2013 when he took over the Brooklyn Nets for Avery Johnson. Brooklyn went 35-19 under his command, but lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Prior to the Nets, Carlesimo coached the Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs and Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder. He's amassed a career regular season record of 239-315, and a playoff record of 6-13.