The Sixers connection to the Houston Rockets may have evaporated in the front office, but Daryl Morey is reportedly still interested in members of Philadelphia's organization. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Rockets are set to interview Associate Head Coach Mike D'Antoni sometime this week.
ESPN sources say Sixers associate head coach Mike D'Antoni is interviewing for the Houston Rockets' coaching job this week— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 5, 2016
D'Antoni is far from guaranteed the job -- the Rockets coaching search is vast enough that even I can't be ruled out as a candidate -- but if he's sitting down for a formal interview, the Sixers should certainly be prepared to lose him. Even if he doesn't get poached by another team, he's going to be in the mix.
As we established a few weeks ago, keeping D'Antoni appears to be a top priority for the Colangelo administration, to the point that Brett Brown could be on the chopping block. Bryan Colangelo has loudly and publicly supported the incumbent head coach, but don't mistake those assertions for job security. Votes of confidence aren't worth much, and Colangelo wouldn't exactly be unseating Red Auerbach.
I can understand the desire to keep D'Antoni around on multiple levels, and I think he could potentially be a good steward of the program as it rises. He's a progressive thinker who empowers philosophically sound offense with tempo, a combination which can lead to exciting basketball.
Seeing Brown pushed out to keep him is just a little too slimy for my taste. I still don't know if he's a good basketball coach yet, but he deserves tremendous credit for the harmony of the locker room the last three years. If you want to talk about building a positive culture, there's no better avatar for that ideal than Brown.
If D'Antoni sticks around and serves as a safety valve in the event we learn Brown is not fit to be the head guy, I can live with that. But kicking him to the curb with the team finally aiming to give their coach a better team to work with would be cruel, only serving to confirm a growing sense of distrust regarding management. The Sixers need to tread carefully here, even if it means letting a valuable resource get away.