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.
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.
Stephen Silas will be out as Houston Rockets head coach, as the franchise embarks on search for a hire to take the next step, league sources say.
Inside Silas’ tenure and impending divorce with the Rockets — with @KellyIko and @sam_amick at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/d8PWCtujT8
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 9, 2023
The Houston Rockets are declining to pick up the fourth-year option on coach Stephen Silas’ contract, ending his three-year run leading the franchise’s rebuild, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/aJqxY91d31
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023
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.