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John Lucas, Mahmoud Abdelfettah, Boston’s Ben Sullivan among assistant candidates

Recent Houston Rockets assistant coaches John Lucas and Mahmoud Abdelfettah, along with Boston’s Ben Sullivan, are reportedly options for the bench staff of new head coach Ime Udoka.

Both Lucas and Abdelfettah were on the 2022-23 staff of former head coach Stephen Silas. Lucas, a former NBA head coach with three different organizations after an extended playing career, was the lead assistant to Silas over his three seasons with the Rockets.

Abdelfettah led Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Vipers, to the 2021-22 championship before joining the assistant coaching ranks with the parent NBA club in 2022-23.

Ari Alexander of KPRC, Houston’s NBC affiliate, has more:

Two names to watch that could stay with Udoka on the Rockets staff: John Lucas, the legendary player developer is respected throughout the league. Mahmoud Abdelfettah has come up through the Rockets system as Houston’s G-League head coach with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and is well respected within the organization.

An outside name to watch to join the Rockets staff: Celtics assistant coach Ben Sullivan. Sullivan and Udoka have a close relationship. Both grew up in the Portland, Oregon area and are connected through the Spurs, where Sullivan was a video coordinator thanks to a suggestion from Udoka. Udoka and Sullivan’s previous boss, Mike Budenholzer both coached under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and Udoka hired Sullivan away from Budenholzer’s Milwaukee Bucks staff. Sullivan is currently in a good situation with the playoff-bound Celtics but is an intriguing name to watch based on the relationship.

Lucas has become well regarded for his strong relationships with players, having previously worked for the Rockets as a player development coach on the staff of Mike D’Antoni (2016-20).

Abdelfattah is best known for his offensive acumen, which could make him a good bench fit alongside a head coach such as Udoka, who is widely respected for his commitment to defense.

As for Sullivan, any potential attempt at poaching him would likely need to wait until after the Celtics conclude their ongoing run in the 2023 playoffs. With a 2-1 lead over Philadelphia in the second round, Boston is currently in a strong position to continue playing.

There is no set timetable for Udoka to name his full staff for the 2023-24 season. However, an assistant typically leads Houston’s squad at the NBA Summer League, and practices for those begin shortly after the NBA’s draft night. This year, the draft is on June 22, so expect at least some members of Udoka’s staff to be known by then.


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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire