HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- The Houston Rockets have narrowed their coaching search to three candidates, Sports Radio 610 has learned, with former longtime coach and Rockets great John Lucas gaining momentum as the frontrunner.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has narrowed his list of candidates to succeed Mike D’Antonio to former coach and broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy, Dallas Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas and Lucas.
In the wake of Daryl Morey departing as general manager, the Rockets seem intent on keeping some semblance of continuity with a team whose championship window is closing.
Lucas, a player development specialist with the club, has gained momentum as the likely successor and also has earned the endorsement of Rockets star James Harden.
Silas will interview with the club a second time Friday, after Van Gundy interviewed with Fertitta a second time on Thursday.
Sources say Lucas, however, has become a favorite because of his relationship with Harden and others, as well as his having worked on an almost daily basis with every player on the roster.
Given that Rockets leadership considers it a two-year window to threaten for a championship, Lucas has wide support and would not drastically change the offense.
Lucas, 66, has not been a head coach in the league since 2003, but has been involved with the league and various players consistently every year since.
The Rockets’ roster also is static, with little cap room or draft capital. Also, Harden and Russell Westbrook have opt-outs after the 2021 season, so Fertitta apparently wants to make one more run with a veteran, familiar face in charge.
Another familiar face, Van Gundy, also very much is in the mix because of his familiarity with the club and league.
Both Lucas and Van Gundy have made it clear to Fertitta that they will not tweak the club’s approach and lean heavily on analytics with new general manager Rafael Stone.
Silas, 47, was a finalist for the Rockets in 2016 and has worked wonders with Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, whose game is similar to Harden’s.
While Silas is by no means out of the mix, his interview Friday could be key in surpassing Lucas and Van Gundy as the favorites.