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Insider

Kevin McHale on thin ice?

5/3/2014

UPDATE: After Houston's elimination from the playoffs on Friday, ESPN.com's Marc Stein writes: "Locker-room unease has been bubbling during this series. And McHale's perceived shortcomings as an in-game strategist have been a talking point going back to his days on Minnesota's bench. But sources insisted again this week that, to date, there has been no tangible evidence to suggest that the Rockets have a coaching change in mind."

Stein adds this nugget that Stan Van Gundy might be a candidate for the head coach job if McHale's option is declined.

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Some in the media have been critical of Kevin McHale's tactics during the season and there is some speculation he might be in trouble should the Houston Rockets get eliminated by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Rockets stayed alive in the playoffs by winning Game 5 on Wednesday and they can even the series on Friday when it shifts back to Portland.

The Rockets have been able to keep LaMarcus Aldridge under control since McHale moved Terrence Jones to the bench and promoted Omer Asik to the starting lineup beginning with Game 3. Asik has done a terrific job making life difficult for Aldridge, but even with this move, McHale still can't get out of the rumor mill.

Longtime NBA scribe Peter Vecsey tweeted Wednesday night: "Source SAYS it's all she wrote for Kevin McHale if Rockets erased in this round."

Jason Quick of The Oregonian adds: "There is chatter that McHale needs to win this playoff series against the Trail Blazers to save his job."

While that is what Vecsey and Quick are hearing, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein have reported McHale has the backing of owner Les Alexander and several players.

The Rockets own a team option for 2014-15 and McHale's status will be quickly resolved once Houston's season concludes.