The move comes after the Rockets began the season 4-7, including losing four in a row, which is their longest losing streak since 2013. Houston failed to reach 100 points in any of those four games, and their offense ranks in the bottom five in all categories.
This move surprised many because of the recent success McHale has had with the team, including sending them to their first Western Conference Finals since 1997 last season. Houston was 56-26 in the regular season, and despite that, McHale becomes the first coach to leave a team following a conference finals season since Stan Van Gundy resigned from the Miami Heat in the 2005-06 season.
At the time, the Heat had Pat Riley take over to lead that team to a championship. The Rockets have assistant J.B. Bickerstaff to take over in the interim position. Houston got his stint off to a good start by snapping their losing skid with an overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, but have lost their last two since.
McHale was in the first year of a three-year extension, but admitted in an interview that things weren't working between him and the team, which is why he was let go. McHale has drawn interest from other teams already, including a job in the front office with the Boston Celtics, and an assistant position with the Dallas Mavericks. He also has the option of going back to broadcasting.
The former Rockets' coach spent most of his playing career with the Celtics, but has a very close relationship with Mavs' owner Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle. So despite his stint with the Rockets ending, his stay in the NBA is far from over.