Continued from page 1

The Rockets have missed the playoffs the last two seasons. They played most of that time without injury-plagued All-Star center Yao Ming. Yao’s contract is up and his future with the team is one of the most pressing decisions facing McHale and Morey as next season approaches.

“We’d all be really happy if Yao comes back to play, and I hope he can,” McHale said. “I think he’ll give it his best shot. His body is going to dictate if he can come back and play. That’s all going to be laid out in the future.

“But who wouldn’t like Yao Ming, a big guy who can really make shots, just a huge force in the middle? That’s out of my control. We’ll see where that goes.”

McHale is the 12th coach in franchise history, and the third since Rudy Tomjanovich stepped down after the 2003 season for health reasons. Jeff Van Gundy coached the team from 2003-07, taking the Rockets to three playoff appearances. Adelman went 193-135 in his four seasons, the highest winning percentage (.588) among the franchise’s full-time coaches.

McHale set a return to the postseason as the immediate goal, even though Houston lacks a true superstar.

“They have pieces in place here that are very good pieces that can be part of a championship-type team,” McHale said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs next year, that’s just what it is and that’s going to fall on me to do it. If it doesn’t get done, it’ll be on me.”