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The Houston Rockets’ head coach role is vacant now, after four years. 69-year-old Mike D’Antoni parted ways with the team, with his contract expiring in the offseason. After being unable to take the Rockets to a title, D’Antoni decided it was time to seek a new challenge.

Aug 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni talks with referee Bill Kennedy (55) during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

But The Athletic recently revealed that none of the Rockets players, or even GM Daryl Morey, were aware of this decision before it was all over the media. D’Antoni had not decided about leaving completely and was expecting a call from owner Tilman Fertitta. But after waiting all morning, the call never came. That’s when D’Antoni decided it was time to test the market.

So, when they were on their flight back to Houston, D’Antoni rang up his agent and told him about his decision. Before they landed in Houston, the players were in for a shock when news flashed about D’Antoni’s decision. Morey was upset but eventually understood and respected him.

What’s next for D’Antoni and the Houston Rockets?

The Philadelphia 76ers are also looking for a coach after firing Brett Brown. D’Antoni is one of the top two candidates to take over and has an interview this week. After working with a small-ball lineup in Houston, he could be working with the tallest team in the NBA.

He will have to completely redo his tactics if he is given the job, and would be intriguing to see how he uses a team that is poor in outside shooting.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and forward guard Alec Burks (20) and guard Furkan Korkmaz (30) react during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics in game four of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, the Rockets situation is not so bright. They made trades that suited D’Antoni’s unique approach, and now, with him gone, they look directionless. With this small-ball lineup failing, they will have to hit up the market again to start with fresh.

Another problem for them is that they have two players, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who will command over $40 million next season onwards. That locks up their cap space and doesn’t give them much room to work with since they have to rework their team.

It could be a tough off-season for Morey and the Rockets and they could be in for some shake-ups.

Sep 8, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (left) celebrates with guard James Harden (13) after dunking against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of game three in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Report: Donald Trump, Mike Pence Criticize Chamber of Commerce in Call

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence criticized the United States Chamber of Commerce in a phone call after the business group endorsed 23 House Democrats in vital congressional races, a report alleges.

According to sources who spoke with Axios, Trump and Pence rebuked the Chamber’s recent endorsement of House Democrats in a phone call with Chamber CEO Tom Donohue:

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence criticized the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a phone call Friday morning, venting their frustrations over its recent endorsement of nearly two dozen vulnerable House Democratic freshmen, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios. [Emphasis added]

Pence then acknowledged that the Chamber has historically supported some number of Democrats in past election cycles, but added that he and the president were frustrated with the scope of the endorsement. [Emphasis added]

Despite the criticism — and the Chamber’s longtime opposition to key components of Trump’s “America First” agenda — Donohue reportedly continued lobbying the Trump administration on issues.

Axios reported:

Donahue also reminded Trump of the importance of bipartisanship to get his priorities through, like the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal that was heavily lobbied by the Chamber, the source said. [Emphasis added]

The reported statements from Trump and Pence came as Breitbart News detailed, in an exclusive report, political turmoil in which the Chamber has been engulfed.

One insider called the Chamber “an elitist organization,” while another said their Democrat endorsements were “what happens when the Washington swamp and Wall Street get together in Nancy Pelosi’s conference room and make a deal.”

The number of small businesses paying dues to the Chamber stands at less than 7,000 today, according to sources with knowledge. In its heyday, the Chamber had about 130,000 small businesses paying dues.

The Chamber has not responded to Breitbart News’s requests for comment.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder. 

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