NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Rockets Support McHale

The Houston Rockets continue to support Kevin McHale … The Harrison twins are returning to Kentucky … George Karl interested in executive job?

Jesse Blancarte profile picture
Updated 12 months ago on
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Rockets Support McHale

The Rockets have yet to pick up their option on the fourth year of Kevin McHale’s contract, but sources close to the situation said this week that support for Houston’s coach remains strong within the organization and among key players despite the team’s struggles thus far in the playoffs.

Although there is no guarantee he would survive a first-round exit — particularly a sweep — sources told ESPN.com that the prevailing feeling in team circles is that McHale “deserves more than one season with this group.” McHale has strong support from high-profile Rockets such as Howard and forward Chandler Parsons, sources said, and it’s believed general manager Daryl Morey and his front office also prefers to see this group — which is the youngest team in the postseason with an average age of 25.7 — grow together.

via Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

The Houston Rockets entered this season with high expectations after winning the Dwight Howard sweepstakes last offseason. The Rockets finished the season with a 54-28 record, good for the fourth seed in the West. Houston was heavily favored entering their first round matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, however, after two monster performances from LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, the Rockets are facing a first round exit. James Harden in particular has struggled on both sides of the ball and will need to turn things around quickly for Houston to have any shot at advancing to the next round.

While McHale has not established himself as a top head coach in the league, he has the support of key players like Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, according to ESPN. It is probably too soon to drop McHale after one season with Harden, Howard and Parsons together, but there will be people that feel the team needs a more established coach.

Harrison Twins Return to Kentucky

Aaron and Andrew Harrison have decided against entering the 2014 NBA draft and will return to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Harrison twins had wrestled with the decision over the past several weeks and had flip-flopped several times in recent days. The most recent feedback from the NBA had them on the bubble as first-round picks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

After receiving feedback from NBA executives, the Harrison twins have decided to return to the University of Kentucky for their ­­­­sophomore seasons. It seems that both Aaron and Andrew were considered at best late first round picks, and thus opted to return to UK.

UK is bringing back six of its eight top players from last year and adding four McDonald’s All-American freshmen. The Harrison twins bring back experience and stability to the Wildcats’ back court and round out a roster stacked with talent.

While the Wildcats lost Julius Randle and James Young to the NBA, they should be considered a favorite to contend for the NCAA Championship next season.

Karl Would Be Interested in Cavs Opening

George Karl has never met Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, but if Gilbert is looking for a prominent NBA veteran with ties to Cleveland to head up his franchise as president, Karl would love to be on the short list.

“Being a leader, running a team and organizing a group with the common goal of winning a championship would be the ultimate challenge in my career,” Karl said via email from Germany, where son Coby is playing.

“Feel great and would love to expand the challenge of putting an organization together and bringing a fun committed basketball team to Cleveland,” Karl said.

via Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

In 2013, George Karl coached the Denver Nuggets to a franchise-record 57 win season, and won Coach of the Year. However, the Nuggets fired Karl after the team lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors. Karl got the Nuggets to the playoffs each of the nine seasons he coached in Denver, however the team only advanced past the first round once in 2009.

Over 25 NBA seasons, Karl has an overall coaching record of 1,131-756. He is the seventh coach in NBA history to win over 1,000 games, but now seems to be interested in a front office job.

Other successful coaches, such as Pat Riley, Flip Saunders and now Phil Jackson have taken on team president positions and it seems Karl is now interested in the challenge of putting together a winning team as well. Whether he comes back as a coach or team president, expect Karl to be back in the NBA sooner rather than later.

 

 

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Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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