Rick Adelman Responds
Former Rockets Head Coach discusses mutual decision to part ways with the team
Rick Adelman compiled a 193-135 record during his four seasons as Head Coach of the Houston Rockets.
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HOUSTON - One day after he and the team agreed upon a mutual parting of ways, former Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman addressed his situation:
How difficult has this been for you?
It’s been tough. We had two or three days where we talked through a lot of things and I just think that the direction the team wanted to go, some changes they wanted made, I just wasn’t comfortable. I thought we had good dialogue and everything else but I think at the end of the day it was probably best to go our separate ways.
Any avenue where you could have stayed?
We had conversations where we talked about the framework of what they wanted and could I be comfortable in that framework. We talked through that and a lot of it was fine and some of it I thought was unnecessary and was going to be difficult, so at the end of the day I think there was an opportunity there, but it just didn’t mesh.
So this was amicable?
Daryl and I had some good talks and everything. I disagree with some of the direction, the method they wanted to use to get there. I thought me and my staff had done a good job, bringing this team the last two years and getting them where they were. I thought we could continue on with that. Like I said, the direction and the environment they wanted was a little different than mine, so at the end of the day that’s their choice and I wish them well but I think it’s probably best that I moved on.
How hard is this for you?
It’s always hard. I think people sometimes look at when guys get fired, which this is different – this is not getting fired. Getting fired is tough. Suddenly, whether you wanted it or not, you’re gone. This situation’s been very good. The players have been terrific. I love this team. The organization, the basketball people have been really good, so it’s always hard to leave that, something you’re used to. It’s kind of a void where you’re suddenly saying, ‘Geez, it’s over with there.’ But I knew this was a possibility. Even though you know that and try to prepare for it, it’s still difficult when it happens.
Players are disappointed. What does that mean to you?
It means an awful lot because I’ve changed jobs a number of times and I’ve never had players in those jobs where this many players come out and comment like they commented. It really took me back. I didn’t expect them and didn’t think that would happen but we really did bond this year and the way we grew this year I really thought it was special. That meant an awful lot to me.
How does this experience rank?
I look at it as I had a great situation in Portland obviously, a great team in Sacramento the same way and actually in Sacramento, because of our success, changes were just starting to be made then toward the end in Sacramento it wasn’t a pleasant time. We were slipping a little bit. But this, I think, was right up there with those situations because of the players and the people who work in this organization. I think it’s a special place and, for me, even though we didn’t have the success we had in those other two places, it’s right there with them just because of the attitude of these guys and the way they approached it. You didn’t win and we didn’t get to the playoffs but, boy, we came about as close as you can get with a lot of things in our way.
Want to plunge right into coaching again?
I think next is just the transition. We’ll be going back to Portland, that’s where our kids are and everything. So we’ll be concentrating on that. We have a couple family things coming up this summer which I was planning on anyway. I’m not looking right now, I’m not going to sit down and start calling people. I’m going to go home and just kick back and see what happens. Like I said, we have two weddings coming up this summer with our kids so when we hit Portland that’s going to take priority over everything else.
If the right fit comes along is that something you’d be interested in looking at?
I would certainly look at it. This team, if nothing else, even though you don’t win, when you have receptiveness like we had from these players, and the way they played together in the last part of the season and even last year, that’s what’s fun about coaching. I know what we’re doing is good and that it’s successful and I enjoy the experience so certainly I would look at it. Now there’s some places I would not look at but I certainly would listen to somebody who wanted to talk about it. Sometimes, when you leave a place, you kind of wonder if you’ll ever have another opportunity. I’ve had that happen a couple times where I’ve had opportunities and I think if I was interested than I probably could get it again. But I’m going to just wait and see what happens.
Is it fair to say you would not want to end your coaching career on this note?
I don’t think that’s part of it at all. I think it’s just a situation where my wife and I are in our lives and where the place is, if it pops up, then you look at it. But I think we’re pretty comfortable knowing there’s a lot of things you’d like to do that you haven’t been able to do. There’s travel that we’d like to do. I mean, I’d like to go The Masters some year and not watch it on TV. There’s just a lot of things that we’ve missed out doing and I think we’re looking at it as let’s see what happens. When I left Sacramento, that wasn’t quite done then and I had the opportunity to come here. This is a little bit different. When you get my age you start thinking of other things. When you keep getting in the mail things from AARP, Medicare and supplementary insurance, it starts kind of hitting home that maybe there’s other things in life.
Do you think Elston Turner and Jack Sikma are ready for head coaching positions and what are their respective strengths?
Yeah, they’re both ready. Elston’s been ready for a long time and he’s had a couple opportunities where he’s been very close and I think some of those places wish they would have hired him. I think he’s definitely ready. And Jack has been doing this a long time, too. He played and was a very successful player in this league and he’s been on different staffs. I think he can do it and all our coaches, T.R. (Dunn), those guys are all quality people and I said that all along.