Friday May 18, 2007 4:50 PM

Parting Ways

Van Gundy leaves after four seasons with the Rockets organization

Damien Pierce Staff Writer

HOUSTON -- Jeff Van Gundy will not be back to coach the Rockets next season.

The Rockets parted ways with their fourth-year coach on Friday afternoon, ending two weeks of speculation revolving around the future of the coach.

Van Gundy and the organization were unable to reach an agreement to extend his time on the sideline after a lenghty negotiating period. The coach was 182-146 in four seasons in Houston, guiding the team to three playoff appearances.

"First and foremost, we want to thank Jeff for his tireless efforts here with the team over the past four seasons," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "Jeff built the team into a top defensive club and played a crucial part in helping mold this team into a playoff contender."

The Rockets will continue searching for Van Gundy's replacement.

Van Gundy, who is was 430-318 in 11 seasons as an NBA coach, guided the Rockets to a 52- win season, their best performance in a decade. However, he was unable to guide the Rockets beyond the first round of the playoffs. Houston was eliminted by Utah in seven games.

The coach was offered the opportunity to remain with the organization as a senior consultant, but declined the offer.

" Since the end of the postseason, we have had numerous conversations with Jeff about his interest in proceeding as the head coach," Morey said. "He asked for, and was granted, additional time to evaluate his situation with the agreement that we would begin looking into other candidates. During that process, it became clear that Jeff did not want to continue in any capacity with the team other than as head coach."

Rick Adelman, who has made coaching stops in Portland, Golden State and Sacramento, will be drawing up plays for Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady next season.


College: Loyola Marymount.
NBA playing career: In seven seasons with San Diego Rockets (1968-70), Portland Trail Blazers (1970-73), Chicago Bulls (1973-74), New Orleans Jazz (1974-75) and Kansas City-Omaha Kings (1975), averaged 7.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.
NBA head coaching career: 16 seasons with Trail Blazers (1988-94), Golden State Warriors (1995-97) and Sacramento Kings (1998-2006).
Coaching record: 752-481 (.610).
Coaching highlights: Took Trail Blazers to 1990 and 1992 NBA Finals; guided teams to 14 playoff appearances and four division titles.

May 21, 2007, 11:17PM
Adelman reaches deal to coach Rockets

Rick Adelman, the only candidate the Rockets pursued, agreed to terms Monday on a contract to become the team's next coach, a person with knowledge of the Rockets' decision-making said.

Adelman will fly to Houston today and be introduced on Wednesday.

"The Rockets organization will get an outstanding coach," said Hall of Fame guard Clyde Drexler, who played for Adelman with the Portland Trail Blazers. "I think he's the guy to get them over the top."

After a series of meetings with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey on May 11 and May 12, Adelman was the Rockets' choice to succeed Jeff Van Gundy less than a week after the team's first-round playoff loss to the Utah Jazz. Van Gundy was fired after four season as Rockets coach on Friday.

"Rick is a really good coach and a better guy," Van Gundy said. "I think he'll really do well."

Morey, Alexander and Adelman were not available for comment.

Adelman, 60, is 752-481 in 16 seasons as an NBA coach. He has a 70-68 postseason record. He led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 1991 with the Trail Blazers and 2002 with the Sacramento Kings.

With a 752-481 record, he will have the best winning percentage (.610) of any Rockets coach. He is 70-68 in the post-season.

Drafted by the Rockets in the second round of the 1968 Draft, he went to the Trail Blazers in the 1970 expansion draft before the Rockets moved from San Diego to Houston.

Adelman will join Rudy Tomjanovich as the only former Rockets players to become a Rockets coach. The Rockets will be the third of the four teams for which Adelman played that he also will have coached, having also coached and played for the Blazers and Kings. (He also briefly played for the Chicago Bulls in a seven-year playing career.)

With the Trail Blazers and his first Kings teams, Adelman had faced-paced, high scoring teams. His later teams, while still among the NBA's top scoring teams, were more halfcourt oriented, using many cuts and screens in a variation of the Princeton offense.

His first seven Sacramento teams were among the top three scoring teams in the NBA, leading the league in scoring his first three seasons with the Kings. His 2001-02 team, which advanced to Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, won 61 games, by an average of 7.6 points per game. He was fired after the 2005-06 season when the Kings went 44-38, losing in six games to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

His best season as a coach might have been with the 1990-91 Trail Blazers, when Portland went 63-19.

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