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Thread: D'antoni Accepts Offer to Coach Knicks

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    The Gold Mac MSGKnickz33's Avatar
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    Breaking News D'antoni Accepts Offer to Coach Knicks

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    Mike D'Antoni has accepted the New York Knicks' lucrative job offer, ending a week-long battle with the Chicago Bulls, who also pursued the Phoenix Suns' coach, a league source told SI.com.

    The Knicks reportedly gave D'Antoni a four-year deal worth about $24 million. He had two years and close to $9 million remaining on his contract with the Suns, whom he led to two Western Conference finals and an average of 58 victories in four full seasons.

    The hiring completes a whirlwind week for D'Antoni, whom many thought would land with the Bulls, believing their roster better matched his fast-break style. But D'Antoni had been saying quietly all along that New York was as attractive an option for him as Chicago.

    The affable D'Antoni certainly was an attractive option to new Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who is looking to change not only the team's on-court style after four consecutive seasons of 33 victories or fewer but also the unpleasant off-court culture that alienated the media -- and almost anyone else who was around -- during the Isiah Thomas days.

    Walsh entered the picture last Monday when he interviewed D'Antoni at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. That talk was sandwiched between D'Antoni's two interviews with Chicago Bulls general manager John Paxson, who spoke with the 2004-05 Coach of the Year on Sunday night and again on Monday morning in Phoenix. On Friday afternoon, at his home in Scottsdale, D'Antoni also talked to Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has a home about 200 yards away from D'Antoni's. But in the end, Chicago couldn't match the New York offer. Walsh also interviewed Avery Johnson, early favorite Mark Jackson and Rick Carlisle, who has landed the Dallas Mavericks' opening.

    D'Antoni's teams look to run, get jump shots off a high pick-and-roll offense and throw up three-pointers when there are openings ... and sometimes when there are not. D'Antoni, then, is not known as a coach who screams at his players for taking bad shots, but then again, he hasn't coached the Knicks' personnel. His big challenge would seem to be either reestablishing a connection with point guard Stephon Marbury, whom he coached briefly in Phoenix during the 2003-04 season, or turning shooting guard Jamal Crawford into more of a point guard. D'Antoni likes big men who run the floor, but it remains to be seen if power forward Zach Randolph would fit that mold, as center Eddy Curry certainly does not. In short, this is a roster that needs work, but that would be the case no matter who got the coaching job.

    Where D'Antoni's departure leaves the Suns is a question mark. With the midseason acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal (an addition that D'Antoni advocated) and the possible slowing of 34-year-old point guard Steve Nash (at least that's the way it looked in the Suns' first-round, five-game loss to the San Antonio Spurs), the personnel doesn't suggest a certain style, as it did when D'Antoni and Nash first teamed up to bring fast-break basketball back to the NBA.

    But the Phoenix job is still a plum one, with a nucleus of Nash, Shaq, Amaré Stoudemire, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Grant Hill and Leandro Barbosa. And with the approximately $9 million owed D'Antoni over the next two years now available, majority owner Robert Sarver and general manager Steve Kerr should be able to land a good coach.

    Respected TNT analyst and former NBA coach Doug Collins, a confidant of Kerr's who lives in the Phoenix area, has been mentioned as a potential replacement for D'Antoni. A league source said a Suns player even contacted Collins (it's not known whether he did so on his own or on behalf of the team). But Collins told SI.com that he is not interested in returning to the hot seat. "I like my life the way it is," he said.

    One possibility might be Jeff Van Gundy, who preaches a defensive-oriented, slow-down style but has also coached scoring big men like Patrick Ewing in New York and Yao Ming in Houston. With Stoudemire, the offense is already there, and Van Gundy would have to stress defense. But Van Gundy would take some persuading because he has said he doesn't want to coach next season.

    Kerr, whose season-long rift with D'Antoni was probably the biggest single factor in the coach's exit, told SI.com that he does not want to coach, at least not now. (His son is a promising scholastic basketball player and Kerr would like to keep tabs on him.)

    While it appears as if the situation unraveled quickly in Phoenix, the relationship between D'Antoni and Kerr took an early wrong turn and never got back on track. They had a blowup in November about Stoudemire's placement in the offense -- Kerr believed he should get more post-ups and planned touches -- and D'Antoni felt that on several occasions he was being undercut by Kerr, in subtle ways, in the media. "Oh, hell, maybe I'm paranoid," D'Antoni would say from time to time. But he didn't seem to believe that.

    A divide also developed between D'Antoni and the Suns' personnel people, assistant general manager Vinny Del Negro and senior vice president of basketball operations Dave Griffin, who were aligned with Kerr. Management believed that D'Antoni didn't have nearly enough confidence in his bench and that his refusal to open up his rotation hurt the team. The coach maintained that he wasn't given the proper players and therefore did not trust his bench. D'Antoni also believed that the front office did not have full confidence in his assistant coaches, a group including veteran Alvin Gentry, newcomer Jay Humphries, Phil Weber (who specialized in individual workouts with players) and Dan D'Antoni, Mike's older brother.

    Still, most of the turmoil remained hidden, partly because D'Antoni and Kerr are both pleasant men, adept at dealing with the media and even with each other, smoldering internal resentments notwithstanding. But in the cauldron of the playoffs against the Spurs, when some of management's dissatisfaction with D'Antoni's defensive schemes and strategy began to find their way into the papers and the blogosphere, the situation devolved.

    A devastating double-overtime loss in Game 1, a standard loss in Game 2 and a galling blowout loss at home in Game 3 all but ended the Suns' season and exposed a team in disarray. It had become evident by then that the season had worn on D'Antoni and that the chances of the coach and Kerr repairing their relationship were infinitesimal. After the Suns were eliminated in Game 5, SI.com reported that D'Antoni would not return as coach because of what he considered to be a lack of support from upper management.
    I think this is a positive for the knicks but what matters the most to me is whats done about our roster in the offseason. If Eddy Curry is still a knick next year i wont be too happy, and same goes for crawford. If randolph is back....it is what it is, at least he likes playin basketball but i hope to see him get traded, just not as much as im hopin to see McFlurry and crawbird gone.

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    The Gold Mac MSGKnickz33's Avatar
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    Mike D'antoni = Mario or Luigi 20 years later

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    Go 1990s New York Knicks! nyKnicks126's Avatar
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    Hmm, what a move, I thought he was heading for Chicago, only time will tell if D'Antoni will be a good coach for this Knicks team, or if he wont.

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    Member lanceroy's Avatar
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    Wow!!! So soon. I hope he gets defensive specialists as assistant coaches, or at least give space to either Jackson or Ewing. Time to get three-pointers like Kapono or someone similar, or pure shooters. Unfortunately we don't have any accurate jumpshooters on our team. Josh Smith would be a perfect fit as the new Matrix. But I doubt we could pry him from Hawks. Maybe later on. And we better draft Derrick Rose!

    Even though we didn't land Thibodeau who I liked more, I'm actually excited for next season. I'll be looking forward to our offseason moves especially the draft. I'll also be concerned of how D'Antoni would want to win right away. He's not used to losing, at least during the regular season. On the contrary, that mentality can also spread a winning psyche for the team.



    I'll also hope the Bulls don't land Thibodeau, which I believe will be a great coach for them. Chicago should suffer more losing seasons to make amends for Isiah's insane trades with that franchise. LOL!

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    Go 1990s New York Knicks! nyKnicks126's Avatar
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    Now it would be nice to see Jackson being hired as an assisant coach. He would work on the guards from his own perspective. Its always good to have two people that know what they are doing.

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    Your Best Bet is B Ez datruth's Avatar
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    same shyt different pamper, this is going wit more expectations, should be interesting who's going stay on this team for the upcoming season

    jamal going have a lot of fun in his offense.lol
    Last edited by datruth; May 10, 2008 at 15:17.

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    Veteran StEpHoN_mArBuRy's Avatar
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    Well atleast to O should be much improved...

    I really wasn't looking forward to Dantoni being head coach do to the fact I heard Chicago was his number 1 priority but I guess its not a bad hire. I kinda really wanted a coach that I know preaches defense like a avery johnson or jeff van gundy etc. But yeah if we're actually gonna play a up and down game succesfully some of pieces of this team are gonna have to be moved. Like an Eddy Curry, Zach Randolp etc.


    P.S. Crawford should REALLY flurish under this type of system...

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    OG GoKnIcKsDLEE42's Avatar
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    Wow this is a surprising move. I'm really suprised how quick it came. Like 3 days ago wasn't Mark Jackson the leading cantidate? Knicks should deff grab Jackson as an assistant, now that he's job-less now with the whole YES network thing.idk... dantoinis a run n gun coach but the knicks deff can't run n gun with this front court, d'antonis not a big man coach so we're gunna have to see how curry and zach play in this system. But he seems like a good basketball guy and a smart coach. Man i cant wate till draft day. I think im looking forward to next season.

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    Quiet Storm New New York's Avatar
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    Ok....WHAT! Let me first start off by saying that D'antoni is a great coach, and for six million a season (about what we pay for Jerome James) it's a steal, but only if we had the right players in the system. I thought we were in rebuilding mode, the idea behind bringing in Mark Jackson was to get a guy who there are no expectations on, and allow him to mold his team. D'antoni has not lost in the league, and now he is coaching a whole roster (except Malik) of players who have never won in the league. Everyone thinks Jamal will flourish in this offense, I say that Isiah has allowed him to play D'antoni type ball for the past two seasons, so Jamal will preform well, but I don't expect major strides in his game.


    Ok, because I try to be a positve person I never want to make a post with nothing positive in it. I think that Steph stands a chance at performing well in this system....if he buys into it. He has been working hard already this off season, which means he will come back focused. He will be allowed the offensive freedom he has wanted since he first got here. People take a shot at his age, but this is the exact same age that Nash became a Sun. Q is familiar with D'antoni's offense, he is one of the leaders on the team, so he can influence the team to buy into the coache's philosophy. Wilson Chandler and David Lee have the skills that match the offense, but the problem is a player ahead of both of them in the rotation (Zach and Q) so they will both most likely become bench players. Balkman is also a nice fit, so there are some workable parts. But it almost certainley means a trade has to go down to give some sort of balance to this roster.

    Lastly, I do not like the fact that he came to NY simply because Chicago wouldnt pay him. That just doesnt sit well with me. Anyways, I'm a Knick fan so if he does indeed become our coach, that means he is automatically my favorite coach in the League. Best of Luck Mike, and Welcome To NY!

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    The Gold Mac MSGKnickz33's Avatar
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    *remembers wilson chandler bein compared to shawn marion*

    Mike D'antoni might be able to turn Wilson into a star at the small forward position. We cant forget about the potential wilson was showin on both ends of the floor at the end of last season.

    Wilson Chandler = future all-star

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    Quiet Storm New New York's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MSGKnickz33
    *remembers wilson chandler bein compared to shawn marion*

    Mike D'antoni might be able to turn Wilson into a star at the small forward position. We cant forget about the potential wilson was showin on both ends of the floor at the end of last season.

    Wilson Chandler = future all-star
    I liked Wilson during Summer League, I thought that he showed some real potential. However, last season Mardy Collins came on right at the same time Wilson did this season. I for one really was encouraged by Mardy's play at the end of his rookie season, and we see what he did last year. But you're right there is some real potential in Wilson, if he works hard, he may just be an All Star. I remeber Stu Jackson saying in the Summer League that he thought Wilson had the making of a Star, that was saying a lot considering the Summer League MVP was on our team, and statistically D. Nichols was playing better, so again Wilson can be a real player for us. But here is the problem who does he bump in order to get his shine? Q like I said is the only one with D'antoni expeirience. If you move Q to the 2, then either Marbs or Crawford is coming off the bench. Not to mention you have Jared Jefferies, Balkman, playing the same position.

    Something else to pounder with Mike D'antoni is that he does not go deep into his bench. With a short rotation, that means some players with lucrative contracts will be benched. Plus we will have a lottery pick coming in, please tell me who's spot he takes over in the rotation. Jerome James is a gonner, hopefully Walsh can buy him out for his final year, plus maybe a million or two from his last season.

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    I think this is a good thing. Even if it doesn't work out, I think Walsh made a good choice hiring D'andoni. We should definitely be patient and give him 3 years to turn us around.

    Most of us hates Curry including me, but I do not think we should trade him yet. Last year he was great offensively, so I want to give him the benifit of the doubt.

    We should get rid of Zach. He doesn't move the ball, make turnovers, and is a horrible point guard (you remember that game).

    I can see Lee, balkman, and nate thriving in D'antoni's system.

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    Veteran LJ4ptplay's Avatar
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    NO...NO...NO!!! This is awful. We can all forget about the Knicks ever winning a championship now. D'antoni is a great coach, but this is just a terrible match. I'm starting to wonder how good a GM Walsh is now. The Knicks greatest defenciency was defense. And now we bring in a coach that doesn't teach defense at all.

    The players we have now do not fit into D'antoni's system. And even if Walsh is somehow able to clean house (almost impossible) and get players that will fit D'antoni's system, I still believe a run-and-gun style will never beat a defensive/low-post offensive style in the playoffs.

    Yeah, eventually the Knicks maybe an exciting offensive team and have a good regular season record, but they will never be able to win a championship. Isn't that why we are all here and what this is all about? Eventually bringing a championship to New York?

    Come on people, don't let your love for the Knicks and desperation to have a competitive team cloud your judgement. Remember all the people saying the Marbury/Francis comdo would be the best backcourt in the NBA? Remember all the people saying the Randolph/Curry combo would be one of the best frontcourts in the NBA? This is the same thing.

    D'antoni came here strictly for the money. I think the word is out. Dolan is an easy man to rob.

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    COme on, Mike D'Antoni wont fit with the knicks, the knicks' main focus is DEFENSE. ANd Mike D'Antoni only teaches offense. I mean he could make the knicks better, but a contender team... I prefer Avery Johnson and Mark Jackson than MIke..................

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    The Gold Mac MSGKnickz33's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LJ4ptplay
    Yeah, eventually the Knicks maybe an exciting offensive team and have a good regular season record, but they will never be able to win a championship. Isn't that why we are all here and what this is all about? Eventually bringing a championship to New York?

    Come on people, don't let your love for the Knicks and desperation to have a competitive team cloud your judgement. Remember all the people saying the Marbury/Francis comdo would be the best backcourt in the NBA? Remember all the people saying the Randolph/Curry combo would be one of the best frontcourts in the NBA? This is the same thing.

    D'antoni came here strictly for the money. I think the word is out. Dolan is an easy man to rob.
    I partially agree with you, all i want is a championship. Its been over 30 years and that should be the main goal of any gm/coach. Its tough to say whether or not we'll reach that level in the future. I hope we dont see quick fix solutions. I know donnie said the right things about gettin under the cap but I get mixed emotions about all this. I want to see a dynasty, a team thats built to compete for years. I dont care if we dont make the playoffs next year, knicks fans have waited a long time and i agree with you here. F*ck being a team that gets eliminated in the 2nd/3rd round every year like the suns and craptors. But theres no guarentee this will happen and in Dantoni's defense the suns were very close to beatin the spurs last year. Those suspensions might have cost them a trip to the finals but that we'll never know. The only thing that we know is that the spurs always beat the suns and they won the championship last year.

    Defense wins championships, i'd be more optimistic if D'antoni hired a defense specialist as an assistant coach similar to Doc Rivers/Tom Tibodeau. What will also help is if we acquire defensive minded players.

    Originally Posted by mikelee
    COme on, Mike D'Antoni wont fit with the knicks, the knicks' main focus is DEFENSE. ANd Mike D'Antoni only teaches offense. I mean he could make the knicks better, but a contender team... I prefer Avery Johnson and Mark Jackson than MIke..................
    I also preferred mark jackson......and kind of avery johnson. I think hes a good coach but his voice annoys me.

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