The back-and-forth between Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and the team’s front office has been going on for some time now, as the two sides are looking to agree upon a new contract.
D’Antoni, who is 68-years-old, is entering into the final year of his contract that he signed in June 2016 with Houston.
In May, D’Antoni and his agent Warren LeGarie ended the talks about a contract extension.
Then, in early June, it was reported that talks were back on.
Now, in a story published Monday, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon details what has been going on between D’Antoni, owner Tilman Fertitta and general manager Daryl Morey.
One of those details is that after the talks broke down, Fertitta and Morey and flew to West Virginia to D’Antoni’s offseason house to “smooth things over” and the two executives returned to Houston believing they had a handshake deal.
“I feel very good about it, and I’ve always felt good,” Fertitta said following week. “I’m disappointed that it got talked about in the press, and I’m disappointed I responded in the press.”
As an olive branch, Fertitta offered $2 million in incentives tied to playoff advancement in 2019-20, the remaining season on D’Antoni’s current contract, if they worked out an extension. He also agreed to remove the buyout language, claiming LeGarie hadn’t made it clear it was considered so problematic. D’Antoni told them the reworked offer sounded good, but they needed to iron out the details with LeGarie.
“I have not heard from them since that trip to visit Mike,” LeGarie says. “Mike is prepared to coach out his contract.”
LeGarie told MacMahon that D’Antoni must get a higher base salary, in addition to a second year, in order to sign a new contract.
And D’Antoni is optimistic, per MacMahon:
“We’re still working out the details,” D’Antoni says. “I’m looking forward to next year and looking forward to making a run at a title.
As is Morey, telling MacMahon:
“We’re excited to have Mike back. He’s been a fantastic coach. We’re comfortable he’s going to be our coach next year and many years into the future.”
“He’s going to be our coach next year. We’re hoping to work things out for the future right now; if we don’t, we’re going to work it out after next season,” he said. “We love Mike, he’s a favorite of our players — all our top players love playing for him. We’re going to work it out.”