Reports: Rockets assistant Bzdelik to retire before start of season

NBA.com Global on Sep 18, 2018 06:59 AM
Reports: Rockets assistant Bzdelik to retire before season
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NBA.com staff report

After seeing several key players depart during the offseason, the Houston Rockets will also reportedly lose a member of their coaching staff.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, Rockets assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik has informed the team that he will retire before the start of the 2018-19 season. Here's more from Feigen on Bzdelik's decision:

Jeff Bzdelik, the Rockets’ associate head coach who oversaw the dramatic improvement in the team’s defense, will announce his retirement on Monday.

“Great to work with. We’ll miss him,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He had an unbelievable career in the NBA. Wish him the best in his next phase.”

ESPN initially reported Bzdelik’s decision to step down.

Bzdelik, 65, had been weighing whether to return for a third season on Mike D’Antoni’s staff throughout the summer, reaching his decision this weekend, an individual with knowledge of the decision said. He had been uncertain about taking on the demands and time away from family of another season.

The Rockets will shift his responsibilities throughout the coaching staff, with assistant Roy Rogers likely to lead the defense. Former Vipers coach Matt Brase had already been added to D’Antoni’s staff.

The 65-year-old has been with the Rockets since 2016. The Illinois native first broke into the NBA assistant coaching ranks with the Washington Bullets in 1988. He coached the Nuggets from 2 1/2 seasons, from 2002-05, amassing a 73-119 while leading Denver to the 2004 playoffs. He also spent time in various coaching roles with the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies.

Bzdelik went 162-181 in 11 seasons as a collegiate coach, spending time at Maryland-Baltimore County, Colorado, Air Force and Wake Forest. He made the NCAA Tournament once as a college coach, but his Air Force team lost in the first round to Illinois in 2006.

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