Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Mike D'Antoni will interview a second time with the Houston Rockets for their vacant head-coaching position and is an "increasingly serious candidate," according to ESPN's Calvin Watkins and Marc Stein. D'Antoni was last a head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2012 to 2014. ESPN analyst and former Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy is also in the mix.

From ESPN:

Sources told that D'Antoni, currently serving as associate head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, was summoned for a second sit-down with the club -- this time face-to-face with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander -- after impressing in his first interview.

The Rockets, sources say, would seek to hire a coach with strong defensive credentials, to essentially serve as D'Antoni's defensive coordinator, if talks progress to a serious stage and D'Antoni eventually emerges as Houston's choice to replace Kevin McHale and interim successor J.B. Bickerstaff.

Sources say Jeff Van Gundy has received strong support from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to make a return to Houston for a second stint as the team's coach but also maintain that Alexander has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been working in television since the sides parted ways in May 2007.

The offensive-minded D'Antoni has been a head coach with Denver, Phoenix, New York and the Los Angeles Lakers and, according to sources, has Houston intrigued despite Morey's calls after the season for significant improvement defensively.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported Monday that Van Gundy "could be gaining momentum as the Rockets' top choice." Van Gundy has a much stronger defensive reputation than D'Antoni, but D'Antoni's seven-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns revolutionized NBA offense. You can see his influence in how the Rockets have played the last few seasons, launching 3-pointers and pushing the pace.

Berger also reported that Houston was impressed by Charlotte Hornets assistant coach Stephen Silas. TNT analyst Kenny Smith interviewed with the team but is no longer in consideration. So did J.B. Bickerstaff, who served as the Rockets' interim coach this season and has withdrawn his name from consideration. Houston has also expressed interest in former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel and former Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, per Berger. Other reported candidates: former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell, Rockets assistant coach Chris Finch and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina.

Mike D'Antoni coaches in Houston
Mike D'Antoni would certainly not slow the Rockets down. USATSI