Mike D’Antoni resigned Wednesday as coach of the Knicks, who are exposure of missing the playoffs when he announced they should push for a championship. Odds
Assistant Mike Woodson was promoted to interim head coach and led the Knicks to a 121-79 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday night.
D’Antoni informed Grunwald before the Wednesday morning shootaround that he was thinking about resign. Scores
“I was surprised… I said, ‘what do you really want to do, Mike?’ and he clarified that he believed it was best for the team,” Grunwald recounted.
Grunwald called MSG chairman James Dolan, who went to the Westchester training center for what he called a “very truthful” talk with D’Antoni. He later said the parting was common.
Dolan made it obvious he has a belief in the players and still expects a playoff berth. D’Antoni said before the season the New York Knicks should be a competitor, but they haven’t looked like one in the prior ten games, going 2-8 before Wednesday night’s win — all since Anthony returned from a groin injury.
D’Antoni wasn’t the only one who couldn’t work out why the Knicks couldn’t win with their greatest player.
His exit appears less than a month after he seemed regenerated by the appearance of Lin, the undrafted point guard from Harvard who came off the bench and proved to be the player who could correctly run his offensive system.
But that was short-lived. Lin has still played well, but the defense was fighting and D’Antoni asserted the team wasn’t giving a true effort after a home loss to Philadelphia.
D’Antoni asserted at the beginning of the season he suspected the Knicks may compete for the NBA title.
“If you have a center -Tyson Chandler – from the current champions on your team that’s 28 years of age and is playing the best basketball he’s ever played and you have 2 stars in (Anthony) and – Amare Stoudemire -, glaringly you’ve got to battle for a championship,” D’Antoni said in December.”
Never ready to copy his accomplishment in Phoenix, D’Antoni was headed to his 3rd losing season since signing a $24 million, 4-year contract in 2008 that made him one of the NBA’s highest-paid coaches. He never won a playoff game in N.Y, where the Knicks were concentrated on the future during his 1st 2 years and made many changes that did not give him much of an opportunity to compete.
But they spent big this season, bringing in Chandler to play between Anthony and Stoudemire, while adding players like Davis and J.R. Smith in the season.
New York returned to the playoffs last season for the 1st time since 2004 but lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1st round. In the offseason, the Knicks totally modified the team, waiving point guard Chauncey Billups thru the amnesty clause to free up salary-cap space to sign Chandler. They sputtered thru January while trying 3 point guards to act for Billups.
D’Antoni finally turned to Lin on Feb. 4 and the New York Knicks took off, winning 7 games in a row and looking like a threat to the top teams in the East. Nevertheless it all came to a break when Anthony returned, reinforcing the idea that his wish to get the ball in isolation failed to fit in D’Antoni’s offense that focused on pick-and-rolls and fast ball movement.