HOUSTON - Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said head coach Mike D'Antoni turned down a contract extension offer earlier this week.
"We offered an incentive-based deal just a few days ago that was declined by Mike D’Antoni and his agent Warren Legarie,” Fertitta said.
Even without a deal in place, D'Antoni said he's looking forward to the season ahead.
"We couldn’t come to terms and I’m looking forward to a great year and enthused to come back this season," he said.
Fertitta said he is happy D'Antoni is under contract for the upcoming season. He said that by having D'Antoni in the final year of his deal, if for some reason the team has a bad season, it'll be easier to make a coaching change. Fertitta also said he has high hopes for the upcoming season.
"I hope we win a championship and Mike comes and puts a gun to my head, OK," Fertitta said.
The contract negotiations come amid swirling questions around the Rockets.
"We're always win or else. That's the business. If we could have worked out a deal with Mike, we would have," general manager Daryl Morey said. "Reality is it's a results-based business."
Recently, reports have surfaced that Morey is shopping the entire roster in trade negotiations. Morey said that he didn't see the rumblings as "news" because he is known as a roster tinkerer and Fertitta echoed the sentiment, saying that every team in the NBA operates the same way.
"We love our starting five, OK," Fertitta said. "Daryl has told me over and over that Mike is the best head coach he's ever had and he enjoys working with him."
The Rockets have lost to the Warriors in four of the last five postseasons and haven't made it to the NBA Finals since the 1994-95 season, which was the second of back-to-back championships for the franchise.
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