After Kevin McHale only lasted 11 games as head coach of the Houston Rockets, J.B. Bickerstaff got to take over the toxic, squabbling squad, who he called a “broken team.” His team bowed out in the first round after a huge Game 5 blowout, and they now have an offseason full of fundamentally important decisions ahead of them.
One of their most urgent needs is finding a head coach who can actually make this misshapen team play basketball together again. Bickerstaff never got everyone working for each other this year, but that would’ve been a fairly Herculean task, and he was considered a candidate for the full-time job starting next season.
Except, per a report from Woj, he’d rather go be an assistant somewhere else than stick around and try to clean up this particular mess. From the report:
After a meeting with ownership and the front office on Monday, Houston Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has informed team officials that he’s no longer a candidate for the head-coaching job, league sources told The Vertical.
Other NBA teams have started reaching out to Bickerstaff about lead assistant coaching positions, and that’s where he’s transitioned his focus, league sources said.
NBA head coaching gigs are rare opportunities, and even elite assistants like Terry Stotts and Dwane Casey had to wait a few years between chances. Bickerstaff is young and respected enough that he’ll probably get another shot soon enough, but man, saying that he’d rather take a step down than try to get James Harden to play defense next year is quite the diss to the Rockets.