Kevin McHale appeared as a guest analyst on Inside the NBA Tuesday night in his first appearance since being fired as coach of the Houston Rockets in November.
The former Rockets coach and longtime vice president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves joked that he would have rather been on the sideline for the Rockets-Golden State game Tuesday night before opening up about his shock of being fired just 11 games into the season.
"I was (stunned)," McHale told host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. "I told our guys at the end of training camp ... 'We're a month, six weeks away from our team kind of gelling and playing well.' so we got off to a tough start and I came in and I sat down and they said 'You're fired.' ... I went 'Oof.' I was like 'Wow.' It really, really surprised me. I did not think that was the case."
McHale, the former Gophers star from 1976-1980, started his career with the Wolves as a TV analyst and special assistant in 1994. He also coached the Wolves briefly in 2004-2005 and again in 2008-2009.
On Tuesday night, McHale said "I've never had a team that I've been with coaching that I have not been able to get motivated and get going and winning. ... But it was so short: 11 games."
McHale coached the Rockets to 56 wins, a Southwest Division championship and a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season.
"I thought that might have bought me a little bit more time, but I guess not," McHale said. "If you're name is not Gregg Popovich, I'll tell you what, rent, don't buy. Because [coach firings are] happening fast."
Watch the full interview: