HOUSTON -- Newly hired Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni signed a three-year contract in the $15 million range with a team option for a fourth season on Wednesday, according to a source.
D'Antoni's contract is similar to that of New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, who, according to ESPN sources, signed a three-year deal for $15 million on Wednesday. Unlike D'Antoni, Hornacek doesn't have a team option for a fourth season.
In the past two years, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has distributed significant money to coaches. In December 2014, Alexander gave Kevin McHale a three-year fully guaranteed contract extension worth $12 million.
That season, McHale led the No. 2-seeded Rockets to the West finals after winning 56 games. But McHale was fired just 11 games into this past season. It was stunning because McHale admitted he couldn't get the players to respond to him and because of the money owed on his contract.
Alexander has hired other high-profile coaches in the past, including Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Adelman and McHale, but he feels that this one is different.
"We wanted somebody who really was a master of the craft, who really knew what to do, how to win," Alexander said. "Mike has won 60 games twice in his career."
Alexander isn't alone in his excitement for hiring D'Antoni. Leading scorer James Harden expressed similar views.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Harden said Wednesday on teammate Jason Terry's Sirius XM radio show. "I've been hearing great things about him, what he brings to our team. Obviously, our assistant coaches [Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers] as well. A new beginning, and I'm excited about the opportunity."