Rockets interview Blatt for head-coaching vacancy

Blatt was among numerous coaches interviewed for the Rockets’ opening.

May 11, 2016 04:38
2 minute read.
David Blatt is still licking his wounds after being fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers last week, but

David Blatt is still licking his wounds after being fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers last week, but his next job in the NBA could be just beyond the horizon.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Houston Rockets head-coaching opening was the latest for which David Blatt interviewed on Monday as he continues to search for a new landing spot in the NBA.

Blatt, who was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers mid-season, had previously interviewed with the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks, though the Kings announced on Monday that they had reached an agreement with former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger.

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The Kings are the sixth team to have selected coaches this offseason, following the Timberwolves (Tom Thibodeau), Wizards (Scott Brooks), Suns (Earl Watson) and Lakers (Luke Walton.) The Knicks, Grizzlies, Pacers and Rockets still have openings.

Blatt remains a top candidate for the New York Knicks vacancy, with team president Phil Jackson taking his time in making a decision.

According to a report last week on SportsNet New York, Jackson was beyond “impressed” with Blatt’s “intelligence level” in their meeting and a deal “is close.”

Interim Knicks coach Kurt Rambis remains the favorite to be handed the role on a fulltime basis.

Blatt guided the Cavs to the NBA Finals last year before being surprisingly sacked in January with Cleveland leading the East at 30-11.

Blatt was among numerous coaches interviewed for the Rockets’ opening.

The Rockets have been in contact with the representative of former Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

They have also interviewed associate head coach Chris Finch, and former Suns, Knicks and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. Among those still to be interviewed are Kenny Smith, the point guard from their championship teams more than 20 years ago.

Smith has never coached, but has remained highly visible as an analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

The Rockets will also have an interview with the more conventional sort of candidate, former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, a star from their days battling the Utah Jazz.

They are scheduled to meet with Hornets assistant coach Stephen Silas, the son of former NBA star and former Rockets coaching candidate Paul Silas, at the end of the week.

That could indicate additional assistant coaches will be interviewed, as was the case in 2011, when the Rockets interviewed many assistant coaches for the position that went to Kevin McHale.

As with that search, the Rockets are determined to move at their own pace and to cast a wide net.

As of Monday, the Rockets had not scheduled a meeting with former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who like Vogel could bring the attention to detail and defense they seek.

The Rockets will not lament the departure from the market of several top coaches, some before the team’s season ended after five first-round games against the Warriors.

But with Joerger the latest to be scooped up while the Rockets work their way through their list, the contrast between their interview process and other teams’ recruiting efforts is increasingly clear.

TNS contributed to this report.

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