Dallas Mavericks: Mike D’Antoni leaving the Rockets creates questions

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks: Mike D’Antoni’s departure leaves questions for Rockets

The Dallas Mavericks finished second in the Southwest Division. The Houston Rockets won it for the third straight year. James Harden and his team made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a disappointing end to the season by their standards. Harden is still chasing that elusive ring.

News broke on Sunday that Mike D’Antoni would not be returning as Rockets coach. It is not a massive surprise. His contract was up after their playoff elimination, and the two sides had not agreed on an extension. D’Antoni will be coaching somewhere else next season.

His departure leaves plenty of questions for the Rockets. They built their team around small ball and firing 3-pointers. No coach is more suited to that style than D’Antoni. How will the new head man change it up? Will the Rockets shake up their roster too? The answers could have massive impacts on the Mavs.

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How Mike D’Antoni’s departure from Houston could impact the Dallas Mavericks

The Rockets have tried to avoid paying the luxury tax in recent seasons. That is likely to end this offseason if they want to improve their roster. Harden and Russell Westbrook will both make over $41 million next season. The Rockets only have ten players under contract. They will be looking to bring back Jeff Green after he was a key part of their playoff rotation in Orlando.

The Rockets and Mavericks could be competing for the same players using their mid-level exception. Both teams will be light on cap space leaving that as the best avenue for adding an impactful veteran in free agency. Houston and Dallas could both be looking for a plus defender and floor spacer this offseason.

The Rockets do not have a draft pick in 2020. They are light on tradable selections too. Daryl Morey has had a ton of success making deals during his tenure, but Houston could find it tough this offseason. The Rockets are light on both assets and cap space.

The biggest question is how the new coach changes the Rockets scheme. Will they still be shooting over 45 3-pointers per game? Do they try to add a seven-foot floor spacer like Serge Ibaka? Can they find a taker for Russell Westbrook? A lot could change in Houston with D’Antoni out. Mavs fans should monitor who they hire as the new coach and what he says about changing the Rockets scheme.

Now could be the time that the Mavericks take over the division. The Rockets are beginning to slip. Dallas is on the rise. It will not be long before the Mavs are division champions. Mike D’Antoni leaving opens the door for it to happen in 2021.

The Rockets will be an interesting team to monitor this offseason. Dallas will be looking to make moves too. They plan on becoming title contenders in the near future. Do not count the Mavericks out. It could happen sooner than fans think, so stay tuned.

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