Who will it be and when will we know?

Here's why the Rockets should have a new coach by the end of the week

Van Gundy makes the most sense.Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Last week the NBA's board of governors announced that it would be pushing for a December 22 restart and a 72 game season.

If you're a basketball fan, this is great news. If you're a basketball player, it's apparently also great news.

If you're a basketball franchise without a head coach, however, it may be perceived as a bit of a time crunch.

With 56 days left before the suggested start of the new NBA season, the Houston Rockets have yet to announce a new head coach. If you sort through the tea leaves, however, it's possible that we may already know who and when they'll announce the hire.

The Rockets have reportedly narrowed their search down to former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Mavericks assistant Coach Stephen Silas, and current Rockets assistant John Lucas.

Van Gundy comes with proven pedigree as a head coach that has taken a team to the NBA finals, lives in Houston, and left as a fan favorite.

Silas is looked at as more of a potential hire, along the lines of the Celtics when they hired Brad Stevens; unproven as a head coach but widely regarded as capable.

Lucas is currently the player development coach for the Rockets and has been endorsed by James Harden as a potential suitor for the job. Lucas is a good assistant, but currently holds a career head coaching record of 173-258.

So who will the Rockets pick?

Lucas, to me, comes off more as a courtesy interview by the front office to placate Harden. Nothing about his history as a head coach suggests that his hiring would signal a commitment to excellence by the front office. He's off my board.

It's really (hopefully) down to Van Gundy and Silas. With Van Gundy you can point to his previous success, and with Silas you can point to his potential. Both would be easy to sell to a disappointed fan base.

It's in this argument that I find Van Gundy as the more likely option. The front office is facing its first general manager change in 13 years. New GM Rafael Stone was promoted from within, but has never been a GM before. It would make sense then to bring in an established name to pair with a new GM provided Van Gundy is willing to buy into Stone's philosophy.

Another thing to consider is that, between the two, Van Gundy is also the flashy hire. In case you forgot who the Rockets casino-owning owner is, he has a penchant for flashy hires. As the Chairman of the University of Houston System board of regents, he was instrumental in bringing Kelvin Sampson and Dana Holgerson coach the men's basketball and football teams respectively. Both coaches were pulls from Power 5 conferences.

When will we know?

This is the easier question. Former GM Daryl Morey announced his resignation on October 15, right in the middle of the interview process. He did, however, indicate that he would stay on in an advisory role until November 1. There isn't too much to read into beyond that. Why else would Morey stay on other than to help finish the head coach selection process? Stone has been one of Morey's top assistants for some time, so the change of responsibility can continue to be facilitated beyond November 1. It's not like he can't call Morey after Halloween for advice. So my money is on a head coach announcement by the end of the week.

Needless to say there are plenty of questions surrounding the Rockets this offseason. It looks like at least one of those should be answered sooner than later.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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