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Report: McHale frontrunner for Rockets coaching job

May 21, 2011, 4:59 PM EDT

Assistant coach Kevin McHale of the Rook AP

Honestly, after his last stint as general manager than coach in Minnesota, I didn’t think we’d ever see Kevin McHale walking the NBA sidelines as a coach again.

But he has interviewed everywhere this spring (recently with the Warriors) and was one of the three finalists for the Houston Rockets job. Now he is more than that, according to a Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

No final decision has officially been reached, nor are contract negotiations underway, but McHale has clearly separated himself from Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey and Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, sources said. McHale made a strong final impression in conversations with Houston officials on Thursday in Chicago, and could receive a formal offer in the next week.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey is a smart man, but I just don’t see the fit. McHale is a career 39-55 coach who was 20-43 after being pushed from general manger to coach with the Timberwolves back in 2009. To be fair, he was not as bad a coach as some will paint him as — they team played better for him than it did Randy Whitman before him, and he had Al Jefferson playing well until Jefferson blew out his knee.

But it wasn’t special or impressive. Not a great connection with the players by all accounts, the Xs and Os were not earth shattering. Basically, with good talent he could win plenty of games, but I didn’t see a dramatic improvement with those Wolves (the way you did this past season when Frank Vogel stepped in midseason for the Pacers).

If you were trying to mold a future big man and star, maybe McHale makes more sense. But the Rockets are not that team right now. They were talking about building for the long term with a coach the players would identify with. Is that McHale? I can see him being fantastic in interviews, he has a great personality, but is he a better coach for a young team than Dwane Casey or even someone like Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer?

Whether it’s the Rockets or someone else, it looks like McHale is going to get another shot at being an NBA head coach next season. Whenever that starts.

  1. goforthanddie - May 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    I’d swear McHale has said he wasn’t into coaching, and only took over Minn because the boss made him.

  2. mikeminnc - May 21, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    So, the executive leadership of the Rockets sat around, had some meetings, gave it a lot of thought, then decided the smart move was to fire Adelman and hire Kevin McHale in his place? What am I missing here?

  3. jstrizzle - May 21, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Take a look at my take on the matter. He certainly never did MN any favors as a GM

  4. jlcarbone - May 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    mchale sucks listening to him talk about basketball is like listening to Matt millen talk about football it just doesn’t make sense

  5. thetooloftools - May 21, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Hey, LeBron James here.. why no mention of me? He saw me play a few times. I need to keep my name out there too.

  6. quetzpalin - May 23, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Aside from the issues mentioned, it seems weird because his comments during games paint him as an anti-new stats kind of guy. Maybe that’s just part of his commentator schtick, but it would be strange to hire a head coach who might be openly hostile to the idea of implementing some of the stat based finding they are spending so much energy and money gathering.

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