Kevin McHale agrees to coach Rockets

Updated: May 31, 2011, 11:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Kevin McHale has agreed to become the next coach of the Houston Rockets.

McHale's hire was originally reported on Friday. The TNT analyst confirmed that he had agreed to take the position on NBA TV's pregame show before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

McHale
McHale

"Doing the TV has been fantastic," McHale told NBA.com Tuesday. "But this was a chance. It came up, I talked to them. I was a little uncertain whether I was going to jump in with both feet -- I wanted it to be the right situation -- but after spending time with them, I felt this is a good situation to get involved in."

According to NBA.com, McHale will sign a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year. The former Boston Celtics star expects to be introduced as coach Friday in Houston, the website said.

McHale, formerly the Minnesota Timberwolves' general manager, was 39-55 in two stints as the Wolves' interim coach. He was 19-12 after taking over for Flip Saunders in the 2004-05 season and posted a 20-43 mark after replacing Randy Wittman for the final 63 games in the 2008-09 season.

"I had really wanted to coach again," McHale told NBA.com. "You miss the competition when you're away from it. That's what I missed the last couple of years. I've done it my whole life.

"From a coaching standpoint, you have a lot more [impact] on the outcome of the game than when you're GM-ing. My last stint with the guys in Minnesota, I really enjoyed myself with them. It was a younger team and I had a lot of fun doing it."

McHale's time as an executive in Minnesota was highlighted by drafting Kevin Garnett out of high school in 1995. Other moves and draft decisions didn't go over as well with fans and he began to draw criticism.

Houston has missed the playoffs the last two years as it dealt with injuries that have limited All-Star center Yao Ming to just five games since the 2008-09 season. That year, Houston reached the Western Conference semifinals, breaking a streak of seven consecutive first-round exits for the franchise.

Yao's contract expires this summer, but he has said he hopes to continue playing for the Rockets when he recovers from the stress fracture to his left ankle.

"Kevin's experiences as a player, coach and general manager, coupled with his tremendous knowledge of the game and players, made him a terrific analyst for NBA TV and TNT," Turner Sports President David Levy said in a release. "Our audience will miss his diverse perspective and terrific sense of humor. We wish Kevin the best of luck in his new role as head coach of the Houston Rockets."

McHale was the third overall pick in the 1980 draft, won three championships with the Celtics and was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time in 1996.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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