The likeable D'Antoni -- popular in previous stops, especially Phoenix as the revved offense turned the Suns into an entertainment value as well as a playoff constant -- began to get a backlash from fans who figured last season was the difficult transition period. That was his first in New York. This one was supposed to be about moving forward. He took responsibility for not leading the Knicks anywhere, even as team president Donnie Walsh rightly dismissed such talk with the reminder that it was the front office that put the brakes on immediate rebuilding.
"I hate to put a coach in a position that's a difficult position," Walsh told the New York Times
. "And I've definitely done that."
The truth, of course, is that nobody was put in a bad place. D'Antoni either had other offers or would, in time, but chose to join the Knicks as a Walsh hire, presumably aware of Walsh's plan to shed salaries and hold the line on the roster until springing into action with the summer 2010 free-agent bonanza. Nothing that has transpired around Madison Square Garden can be considered a surprise.