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The Houston Rockets Will Not Retain Stephen Silas After Three Seasons As Head Coach

Three years ago, Stephen Silas left his position as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks to take over the Houston Rockets head coaching job after Mike D’Antoni left the organization after his contract ran up after the bubble.

When he arrived, he expected to be taking over a contender led by James Harden, however, shortly after his arrival, Harden issued a trade request and was eventually dealt to Brooklyn for a package that netted the Rockets a number of draft picks and almost nothing in terms of useful on-court talent, as they opted to bring in Victor Oladipo over the various Nets youngsters, who never was able to regain his pre-injury form.

In the three years since, Silas and the Rockets have floundered in the Western Conference basement, going 59-177 and twice finishing with the worst record in the league. Their young talent has shown flashes but has never taken much in the way of a noticeable leap forward, and that stagnation after three years has led to Silas’ ouster, as reports emerged as the final whistle blew in a season-ending win in Washington that the team would not pick up the fourth-year option on Silas’ contract.

It is not a surprise to see Silas replaced as head coach, but it’s extremely hard to parse what level of responsibility he truly holds for the Rockets’ failures. He was hired to lead a playoff contender and was handed the keys to a tank, asked to develop a group of young talent without much of any veteran leadership on the roster. The lack of improvement and noticeable strides in terms of cohesion and competitiveness was jarring, particularly when considering the steps forward seen by teams in similar situations in Oklahoma City and Orlando. That certainly played a role in Silas being let go, but there was a talent deficit in Houston, particularly in terms of veterans who could help guide the ship on the floor.

The next head coach in Houston will have quite the task on their hands, but depending on how the lottery balls fall in their favor, they could end up stepping into a situation with some intriguing young pieces and a generational talent. The Rockets front office will need to figure out what members of this current team constitute a real core and who should be moved for veteran help in the coming years, as any steps forward will require better roster balance.