OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Houston Rockets' search for a new head coach began quickly, as Marc Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated reports the team requested permission to speak with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton.
Houston finished its season with a 114-81 series-ending loss to the Warriors Wednesday night. The Rockets will give interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff a chance to get the job full time, but team sources say the club will have an extensive search for a head coach.
Bickerstaff took over for Kevin McHale 11 games into the season after the Rockets started 4-7. The Rockets responded to finish 41-41 and earn the eighth seed in the West before losing in five games to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
"For me and for all of us, we hope this was a learning experience," Bickerstaff said after Wednesday's Game 5 loss. "It's important to seize every opportunity you're given. The opportunity of taking full advantage of every situation you're in. These years in the NBA are priceless, and these years in the NBA aren't guaranteed for anybody, so when you're in these moments, you have to take full advantage of these moments. And unfortunately, we didn't do enough of that this year."
Bickerstaff, the son of current Cleveland scout and ex-NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, didn't talk to Houston management regarding his status during the season. The Rockets' front office likes Bickerstaff but plans on interviewing other candidates before making a final decision.