Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni will return for the final season of a four-year contract, team owner Tilman Fertitta said in a story in the Houston Chronicle on Friday.
"Mike will be the coach next year," Fertitta said. "He's not a lame duck to me. That's just a media term. That's just a media buzzword.
"Mike is going to be 69 years old (next May), and Mike doesn't know totally what he wants to do, yet. We'll sit down with Mike in the next few weeks and talk with him. We're more concerned with making our team better next year.
"Mike will be here. I like Mike. I think he's a very good coach. Players like playing for him. I keep being told, free agents want to know who the owner is and they want to know who the coach is. Mike and I do well together. Hopefully, we'll continue to win and Mike will be here for a long time."
The Rockets were eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals on May 10, when the visiting Golden State Warriors rallied in the fourth quarter for a 118-113 victory. Fertitta, in postgame comments to reporters, called the defeat "unacceptable."
Fertitta didn't discuss with the newspaper a possible extension for D'Antoni -- who is 173-73 in three seasons with the Rockets -- but was firm on his desire to keep his core group of players together, even if he goes over the luxury tax. All five of Houston's starters, including guard James Harden, are under contract for next season.
"We put a team together that should have gotten to the Western Conference finals," Fertitta told the Chronicle.
"You can't say 'I'm going to go win the championship.' Or, 'I'm going to go win the Western Conference or Eastern.' All you can do is put a team together to be one of the top four teams. Then ... you need luck, from (avoiding) injuries to hitting a last-second shot."