There are a few NBA teams this 2020 offseason that have begun the search for a next head coach.
Nate McMillan is out in Indiana; Doc Rivers was hired in Philadelphia after being a ‘free agent’ three days after the Loc Angeles Clippers fired him; Billy Donovan is out in Oklahoma City and then hired quickly in Chicago; and Mike D’Antoni announced he wouldn’t sign an extension with Houston in mid September.
With the openings that remain, a familiar name has popped up in Houston’s search: David Vanterpool.
On Friday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the former Trail Blazers Associate Coach is interviewing for the Rockets’ head coach vacancy.
Minnesota Timberwolves associate HC David Vanterpool will interview for the Houston Rockets head coaching job, sources tell ESPN. Vanterpool spent seven seasons on Portland staff before becoming the top assistant with Minnesota a year ago.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 2, 2020
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Kyle O’Quinn].
Vanterpool was loved and respected by the Trail Blazers for seven seasons, including a special bond with guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
When Vanterpool left for a coaching position with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Lillard shared a heartfelt post to his personal Instagram with the caption, “The day I never wanted to see in my career has arrived…”
“In his seven years with the Blazers, he was instrumental in all facets of NBA coaching – game preparations, offensive and defensive game plans, player development and player relations,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “I am very happy for him and his new opportunity. We will miss him and wish him all the best.”
He was hired as an associate head coach with the Timberwolves on June 19, 2019.
“We are thrilled to add someone with David’s coaching acumen and resume to our staff,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. “David brings an impressive skillset that will be a great complement to Ryan and the rest of our coaching staff. He played an integral role in Portland’s success, earning a strong reputation as a people connecter and relationship builder. In partnership with Ryan, we are confident they will create the best possible environment for our players to succeed on and off the floor.”
Vanterpool has interviewed for a number of previous head coaching vacancies in the past, so his rise to the head coaching ranks is a matter of if and not when.
Houston could be that opportunity.
Other candidates for the Rockets head coach vacancy include: Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Stephen Silas and Denver assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here.