Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni will enter next season unsure of his fate after talks of an extension broke down with the front office.
Owner Tilman Fertitta, though, doesn't foresee that hindering the team during the 2019-20 campaign.
"I'm just going to tell you what I think from an owner's perspective. I don't know what 'lame duck' means because he's under contract," he said Thursday, courtesy of Randy McIlvoy of KPRC. "I think his agent did me a favor because if for some reason we had a horrible year and we thought we needed to make a coaching change - we just got through paying one of the other coaches, I believe.
"So I hope we win a championship and Mike comes and puts a gun to my head."
D'Antoni was named head coach of the Rockets in June 2016. The 68-year-old has managed a 173-73 record across three regular seasons in Houston but has failed to lead the team past the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, who have now eliminated D'Antoni's side in back-to-back seasons.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sided with Fertitta, adding they can still renegotiate with D'Antoni next summer.
"We're always win or else. That's the business," Morey said. "If we could've worked out a deal with Mike we would've ... The reality is it's a results-based business and so everyone does well when we have good results and everyone doesn't do well when we don't.
"For me it's fine, I know coach D'Antoni is fine. He would have preferred to work something out but we didn't. But we'll work something out after the next season."
Morey also addressed a report from Wednesday suggesting nobody on the roster was off-limits in a trade; he denied he was considering parting with any starters, and seemingly ruled out trades involving All-Stars James Harden or Chris Paul.
"If there's a trade out there that helps us, great, we'll do that as well. But I'm optimistic. Some of our main competitors are trying to keep their key people," Morey said, according to Fox 26's Marc Berman. "We're going to keep all our key people next year and be aggressive if we can find better.
"We're not changing to change," Fertitta added. "If we can improve ourselves we're going to improve ourselves. But we love our starting five."