Mike D’Antoni has resigned as coach of the New York Knicks.
D’Antoni’s resignation was first reported by Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. The coach’s agent, Warren LeGarie, told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher that the parting was “a mutual decision” because D’Antoni and the franchise have “conflicting views of the Knicks’ future.”
D’Antoni put the Knicks through a morning workout Wednesday and had been preparing to coach them against the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, Mike Woodson is expected to handle that role.
The Knicks (18-24) have hit a tailspin in the last two weeks, losing six straight and seven of eight to fall six games below .500 and into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York had high expectations coming into this season with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the roster. After struggling through the first six weeks, though, the Knicks went 8-1 in a nine-game stretch in mid-February on the strength of point guard Jeremy Lin, who electrified both the fan base and his teammates after being claimed off waivers in late December.
But once Anthony returned from injury and the Knicks’ recent slide began, the discontent from it apparently created a gulf between him and D’Antoni.
The New York Post reported in Wednesday’s editions that Anthony would welcome a trade, which he denied at the team’s shootaround. The report also said Anthony was unhappy in part because he believed D’Antoni and interim general manager Glen Grunwald do not trust him.
Anthony denied that, too.
“I don’t want to be traded,” Anthony said Wednesday morning. “I don’t know where that foolishness came from, so let’s put a cap on that and make (sure) this the last time I hear about that.”
He added: “I support Mike 100 percent regardless of what is going on, as far as us losing basketball games. We all need each other right now and this is the best time to come together and stick with one another. … There’s a lot of things being said out there about Mike, about myself, and it’s just a bunch of nonsense right now.”
D’Antoni tinkered with his rotation this month to try to spark the Knicks, to no avail.
“It’s my job to make (the players) fit and to get them to fit and to get them comfortable,” he said Wednesday morning after shootaround. “For whatever reason, we haven’t been able to do that.”
Before the season, D’Antoni said he thought the Knicks could contend for the NBA title.
“If you have a center (Chandler) from the defending champions on your team that’s 28 years old and is playing the best basketball he’s ever played and you’ve got two superstars in (Anthony) and (Stoudemire), obviously you’ve got to compete for a championship,” D’Antoni said in December on ESPN 1050′s “The Michael Kay Show.”
D’Antoni was 121-167 in 3½ seasons in New York. He led the Knicks last year to their first playoff appearance in seven seasons, but they were swept in the first round by Boston.
Posted in: Misc.– March 14, 2012