In his three years as head coach of the Houston Rockets, Stephen Silas didn’t have a great time. Originally hired in 2020 to lead a contender built around James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Silas instead quickly became the steward of one of the NBA’s most severe rebuilds once Westbrook and then Harden demanded trades. Stuck with an ill-fitting, under-talented roster, Stephen Silas oversaw the worst three year stretch in franchise history; his 24.7 percent winning percentage is by far the worst of any Houston Rockets’ coach. Still, in light of the organization’s broader dysfunction, it’s difficult to pin the blame solely on Silas.
“Throughout Silas’ tenure, the looming presence of general manager Rafael Stone was also one the head coach had to manage,” reported Kelly Iko, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. “While the two had constant positive dialogue, Stone, sources say, was routinely present for practices, shootarounds, coaches meetings and film sessions at home and on the road, often giving his input and suggestions of his own accord.”
In fact, Stone was such a prominent presence around the team that he even butted in during practice to make adjustments.
“And on one occasion prior to the 2021-22 season,” The Athletic reports, “Stone interrupted a Silas-led session to give his input on and show defensive positions to a few players who were present, sources with direct knowledge of the instance say. The interference reached a point where Silas eventually had to inform Stone he could no longer halt the coach’s practice sessions. ‘Stephen had to address the front office and check them,’ one source familiar with the matter said.”
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