Rockets decide it’s time to fire Van Gundy
If Jeff Van Gundy had decided sooner that he wanted to return to the Houston Rockets, he would still have a job. At least that’s what the team was saying Friday after firing him.
The Rockets’ Game 7 loss to Utah meant a first-round exit for the third time in Van Gundy’s four seasons, raising the possibility that he would step down or be dismissed by owner Les Alexander.
Van Gundy, 45, had one season left on a nonguaranteed contract. When the season ended, he said he needed time to ponder his future and while he did, the Rockets contacted at least one possible replacement.
Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said Van Gundy gave the team his blessing to seek other candidates, in case he decided not to coach anymore. But Van Gundy said he told the Rockets all along that he wanted to come back as coach.
“You’re always disappointed when you’re fired. It’s difficult,” Van Gundy said. “But I was a little bit more upset when it was being spun that I hadn’t come to a decision about wanting to coach. I had told them long ago that I wanted to coach if they wanted me.”
The Rockets reportedly have contacted Rick Adelman, the former coach of Portland, Golden State and Sacramento.
Houston went 182-146 under Van Gundy, including 52-30 this season.
But the Rockets went 7-12 in three postseason appearances and more was expected from teams anchored by All-Stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.