Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t worried about coaching through the final year of his contract. Despite his lame-duck status, D’Antoni says not having a long-term deal won’t impact the way he’ll coach, according to USA Today.
The 68-year-old D’Antoni has experienced plenty of success with the Rockets. Over the past three seasons, D’Antoni has compiled a 173-73 record with the team. He has the Rockets out to a 2-1 start this year.
That success hasn’t resulted in a long-term deal for D’Antoni. The two sides reportedly negotiated extensions in the offseason, but couldn’t come to an agreement. The Rockets reportedly only wanted to extend D’Antoni’s contract by a year. He balked at that offer.
While there are issues with D’Antoni heading into the season as a lame duck, he doesn’t see it that way, according to USA Today.
“It’s not going to change the way I coach or how I feel trying to compete," D’Antoni told USA TODAY Sports. "So then we’ll see next summer with what happens."
D’Antoni added that he doesn’t think the players care that D’Antoni doesn’t have a contract beyond this season.
That’s a good thing. The fear with most lame-duck coaches is that the team will tune them out if it struggles. As long as the Rockets continue to win under D’Antoni, that won’t be an issue.
But if the team starts to struggle, or goes on a losing streak, D’Antoni’s status with the franchise will be questioned. Even if the Rockets get to the playoffs, winning it all might be necessary for D’Antoni to get the deal he wants in Houston.
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