HOUSTON (AP) — Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was fired Friday, less than two weeks after Houston made yet another first-round playoff exit.
The Rockets went 52-30 this season but lost to Utah in seven games, raising the possibility Van Gundy was going to resign or be dismissed. This was the Rockets’ third first-round loss in four seasons under Van Gundy.
Van Gundy had one nonguaranteed year left on his contract, meaning the team held the option to retain him. The team reportedly has contacted Rick Adelman, the former coach of Portland, Golden State and Sacramento.
The firing comes days after general manager Daryl Morey took over for the retiring Carroll Dawson following the Rockets’ elimination.
“Obviously, it is a disappointment for me personally with the decision they made to fire me,” Van Gundy told Houston television station KRIV. “I was hopeful all the way up to last night they would change their mind.”
The Rockets said in a statement they talked with Van Gundy during a “prolonged negotiating period,” and he was offered a position with the team as a senior consultant.
“He asked for, and was granted, additional time to evaluate his situation with the agreement that we would begin looking into other candidates,” Morey said. “During that process it became clear that Jeff did not want to continue in any capacity with the team other than as head coach.”
Van Gundy led the Rockets to a 182-146 record in four seasons. But Houston went 7-12 in three postseason appearances.