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Rockets name Stephen Silas as new head coach

Silas spent the previous two seasons as lead assistant coach for the Mavericks, helping guide them to the highest offensive rating in NBA history in 2019-20.
Credit: AP
Stephen Silas is reportedly being hired to be the Houston Rockets head coach. This photo was taken when he was the Charlotte Hornets associate head coach in 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets officially named Stephen Silas as head coach Friday. history. 

Silas spent the previous two seasons as lead assistant coach for the Mavericks, helping guide them to the highest offensive rating in NBA history in 2019-20.

“The success Coach Silas had with Dallas last season reinforced the notion that he is more than ready to lead his own team,” said Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone. “The strengths of our core players are a great fit for Coach Silas’ system and ideology and I’m looking forward to working with him to find ways we can continue to improve our roster.”

“This is an opportunity that was well-earned and long overdue for Coach Silas and we’re thrilled to have him as head coach,” said Rockets owner Tilman J. Fertitta. “Stephen is a basketball lifer who is highly regarded around the league."

Silas has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2000, most recently with Dallas, but also with Charlotte and Cleveland. The Houston job will be his first time as a head coach in the league.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Fertitta and Rafael for this tremendous opportunity as well as all of the mentors I’ve had over the years, especially my dad, Paul,” said Silas. “Basketball has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born and this is the moment I’ve strived for. I’ve been fortunate to have coached some great players over the course of my career and am excited to work with this incredibly talented team as we build upon the success they have established."

Silas joined the Mavericks in 2018-19 and was tasked with helping improve the team’s offense. Dallas averaged 15 3-pointers made this past season, marking the most by any team in NBA history besides the Rockets. The Mavericks shot 36% from behind the arc and ranked second in the league in fewest turnovers (12.7 per game).   

Prior to joining Dallas, Silas spent eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, including as their associate head coach during the 2017-18 season. As a member of Steve Clifford’s staff in 2015-16, Silas helped the Hornets to their highest win total in 14 seasons.

Silas spent four-and-a-half seasons as an assistant with Golden State from 2006-10 and worked with Hall of Fame coach and offensive guru Don Nelson. Silas was also on his father Paul Silas’ staff in Cleveland during LeBron James’ first two seasons in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

In addition to his NBA experience, Silas has coached at camps and clinics around the world to help promote the league and the game of basketball. 

Upon graduation from Brown University in 1996, where he played four seasons for the Bears basketball team, Silas spent three years as the assistant executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association.

Silas is the son of former NBA head coach Paul Silas and worked with his father in Cleveland when LeBron James broke into the league.

He takes over for Mike D’Antoni, who left the Rockets days after Houston was eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rockets had narrowed their coaching search to Silas, former Rockets coach and current NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy and Rockets assistant John Lucas II.

The Rockets are a team with a lot of challenges. Superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden are both in their 30s and the deal that brought Westbrook to town cost the Rockets control of four of their first-round picks.