Wednesday, May 4, 2011
John Lucas latest to talk to Rockets
By Marc Stein
Former Rockets guard John Lucas is the latest candidate to interview for Houston's coaching vacancy as part of Houston's broad search to replace Rick Adelman.
Lucas, who had three playing stints with the Rockets, confirmed to ESPN.com that he met Wednesday with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to discuss the opening created when Houston and Adelman mutually decided to part ways on April 18.
"I started with the Rockets and I've been here for 33 years," Lucas said. "They're on the verge of being a very good team and I would love to get back involved with them, so it was great to sit down with Daryl and get to know him better and have a nice, quality conversation."
Still a prominent figure on the Houston basketball scene, Lucas was a member of the Rockets' 1985-86 team that upset the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals before losing to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
The 57-year-old compiled a record of 174-258 in three stints as a head coach with San Antonio, Philadelphia and Cleveland and last worked in the NBA as an assistant to Mike Dunleavy in 2009-10 with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lucas is the third former NBA head coach that the Rockets have interviewed. The team also talked to former Atlanta coach Mike Woodson and Boston Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who joined the Celtics after nearly seven seasons coaching the New Jersey Nets. The Rockets have also received permission from the Dallas Mavericks to interview assistant Dwane Casey, who coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for a season and a half. The Rockets are expected to meet with Casey this week when Dallas' second-round series with the Lakers shifts to Texas.
The Rockets also plan to interview former Cleveland Cavaliers coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Brown, as well as TNT analyst Kevin McHale, who hired and fired Casey as the Minnesota Timberwolves' GM and later moved to the Wolves' bench.
The Houston Chronicle reported this week that the Rockets, having vowed to speak with numerous candidates before making their choice, have already interviewed the following NBA assistant coaches: Milwaukee's Kelvin Sampson, Sacramento's Mario Elie, Houston's own Jack Sikma and Washington's Sam Cassell, another Rockets alumnus. Other candidates believed to interest Houston include New Orleans' Michael Malone, San Antonio's Mike Budenholzer and the Lakers' Brian Shaw.
In his Houston gym, Lucas is currently working out draft hopefuls such as University of Kansas twins Marcus and Markieff Morris and University of Texas forward Tristan Thompson.
Senior writer Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com.