Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas protests a foul call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas protests a foul call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The Houston Rockets are not picking up the team-option fourth year of head coach Stephen Silas’ contract.

Silas’ tenure with the Rockets is over after three tumultuous seasons.

Silas, 49, won his final regular-season game Sunday night with a 114-109 win over the Washington Wizard to bring the Rockets’ third-straight disappointing season to an end. The Rockets, who never won more than 22 games in a season under Silas, finished the season 22-60 and they have been an abysmal 59-117 over the last three losing seasons.

Silas met with general manager Rafael Stone on Monday morning where he was informed that the team is moving in a different direction.

It’s been evident for most of the season that this would be Silas’ last season. Silas didn’t directly address speculation about his future before the season ended, but prior to last week’s home finale he did seem to take stock in his time in Houston.

“I am proud of the job that I’ve done,” Silas said. “I have a three-year contract and this is the last home game of my three years, so whatever happens happens after this, but I can’t be anything but proud.”

The losing isn’t all on Silas because the Rockets team he ultimately inherited was not the one that was in place when he was hired for his first head coaching job in 2020. He was coming to a Rockets franchise that had been one of the top teams in the Western Conference with James Harden leading the way.

But almost as soon as Silas was hired, the team’s two biggest stars, Russell Westbrook and Harden, began demanding trades from the franchise because they weren’t pleased with the direction. Westbrook never logged an official minute playing for Silas as he was traded to the Wizards. Harden complained and sulked his way out of town before midseason in 2020, forcing a trade to the Brookly Nets.

Suddenly, instead of retooling, the Rockets were in full rebuild mode. The Rockets have been a bottom feeder NBA Lottery team since and have stocked the roster with a load of young talent, which includes Jalen Green and Jabari Smith, who were both top three picks in the last two drafts.

The team, which finished tied with San Antonio for the second-worst record this season, shares a 14% odds of winning the upcoming lottery with San Antonio and the Detroit Piston. Whichever team that ends up with the No.1 overall pick will draft Frenchman Victor Wembanyama.

That would give the Rockets arguably the best young core of players the NBA has seen in a while with Kevin Porter, Jr, Alperen Sengun and Tari Eason also as part of the nucleus.

The potential list of coaches who could replace Silas includes, former Celtics coach Ime Udoka, former Lakers and Magic coach Frank Vogel and Golden State assistant coach Kenny Atkinson.

Silas, meanwhile, is expected to be one of the hottest top assistant coaches available on the market this offseason.

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Terrance HarrisPro | College Sports Editor

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....