Rockets’ Stone looks for new voice after dismissing Silas

Jun 24, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone reacts during a press conference at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets’ Stone looks for new voice after dismissing Silas

Rockets general manager Rafael Stone praised Stephen Silas on Monday, but made clear he felt it necessary for the team to move in a different direction.

“I think we thought it was time for a new voice,” Stone said a few hours after the Rockets announced they had declined the option on Silas’ contract. “It has nothing to do with Stephen, actually. It’s much more about ‘Ok, we’re exiting one stage, entering another, what’s the optimal way to go forward’ and try to optimize from that.”

Silas was hired less than three years ago to lead a team loaded with veterans deep into the playoffs. Whoever is chosen to replace him will inherit one of the NBA’s youngest rosters. However, it will be supplemented by another top-six pick and around $60 million in cap space, so while no team has lost more than the Rockets the last three seasons, Stone believes he’ll have no trouble attracting top-level candidates.

“I think this is a very attractive situation. Based on my phone ringing today, a lot of other people think it is too.”

Stone did not set a timeline for when he’d like to have a replacement for Silas, but the team will cast a wide net as has been the case the last few times they’ve had a head coach opening, but after hiring a first-time head coach the last time around, the team is not making previous experience as a head coach a prerequisite.

I think there’s validity and importance and at putting out a wider net, so that you get to know people so that you don’t rule anyone out just because they don’t (have head coaching experience),” Stone said. “So I do think we will interview people who don’t head coaching experience prior. I think you should because you don’t know what you don’t know.”

With that said, the top five coaches on the Rockets reported wish list, Ime Udoka, Nick Nurse, Kenny Atkinson, Frank Vogel, and Scott Brooks, all have experience as a head coach, but for Stone and the Rockets, whoever is hired to replace Silas will have to sell the future more than the past.

“I think we want somebody who has a real vision for how to implement our young guys, how to incorporate some veterans, which we’re going to be adding to the mix over the next summer, but also over the next few years, and, and I think we’re looking for somebody who has a dynamic presence and vision.”

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