The Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni have rekindled discussions about a contract extension for the head coach and are nearing an agreement, sources told ESPN on Saturday.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has agreed to eliminate the buyout language that was the primary reason that D’Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie, ended talks on May 30, sources said.
Fertitta and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey visited D’Antoni at his offseason home in West Virginia this week to smooth over any hard feelings. LeGarie was not part of those discussions and told ESPN that a deal still needs to be worked out through him.
“Did Mike speak to those guys down there? Yes, he did,” LeGarie told ESPN. “As always, they asked Mike what he thought, and Mike said, ‘Sounds great, but talk to Warren.’ Mike’s job is coaching, and he leaves the negotiating to me.
“Mike is always affable with everybody out there, not trying to raise the rancor in a situation clearly gone astray.”
After the previous talks ended, Fertitta told reporters during a hastily arranged media availability that the offer to D’Antoni was a one-year extension with a $5 million base salary plus $4 million in incentives for advancing in the playoffs.
However, the original offer included only $2.5 million in guaranteed money, due to a buyout in case the Rockets fired D’Antoni before the end of the season, or if they did not make the playoffs and terminated him after the season.
LeGarie maintains D’Antoni deserves a multiyear extension with a higher base salary than what the Rockets have offered so far.
D’Antoni, who is under contract through the 2019-20 season, has a 173-73 record in three seasons with the Rockets. Houston is 23-16 in the playoffs during that span, losing to the Golden State Warriors the past two seasons.