D’Antoni “obstacle had to be removed”

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012

Jack McCallum of SI.com posted a Q&A session with former New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. In their session they talked about everything, why he resigned, his future, Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin.

One of the biggest questions in my mind was about his resignation. With the Knicks being 18-24 at the time of his departure and all the internal turmoil you had to wonder if it was a resignation or a forced resignation.

SI.com: It was pretty consistently reported that you quit and were not fired. But there is still some doubt because what you did was unusual. “Quitting” almost always means “fired.” So which is it?

M.D.: I absolutely resigned. I was in my car driving to shootaround and it just came to me. That’s it. It’s inevitable. I have to resign. We’re not going anywhere. I made the decision then and there. I called Glen [Grunwald, the Knicks’ general manager] and told him that I was coming in to do it. Then I called Laurel [his wife] to tell her. Glen called in Mr. Dolan [Knicks owner James Dolan] and I met them after shootaround and told them that I was resigning. (SI.com)

In early March we all knew it was D’Antoni or Carmelo Anthony would have to go. It had gotten so bad that Mike went to management to try and get them to trade the face of the franchise. Unfortunately for him he was coaching in New York that that got out and blown up much more then it should be.

SI.com: Was the experience of coaching in New York more difficult than you thought?

M.D.: I’m not going to do any woe-is-me. There’s a lot of pressure but that’s why they pay you. It’s still a great job, and I think Woody [Woodson] will do a great job. It got to the point where we had problems, we could not solve them, and an obstacle had to be removed.(SI.com)

There’s more about the actual relationship with Carmelo.

SI.com: The widest-held theory is that you couldn’t get along with Carmelo Anthony, that any schism on the team, the report that you had “lost the team,” came from …

M.D.: I’m just not going to get into specifics. It came to the point that I had to resign, that’s all. It was time. We weren’t going anywhere and I was the coach.

SI.com: All right, a theoretical question. You’re a coach who likes an open floor, an active point guard, quick shots, pick-and-rolls, “dribble-ats,” lots of movement. Carmelo is a post-up player who needs the ball and demands the ball. He’s great but he kills the clock. Can that ever work? Was it doomed from the beginning?

M.D.: Look, I’ve coached players who post up. Heck, Amar’e [Stoudemire, a Knicks forward] has been a post-up player. We used to post up Boris Diaw a lot in Phoenix. There are always things that can be done by mixing it up. Now, was it the best situation for my coaching philosophy? No. But there’s never one answer for why things don’t work out.(SI.com)

Some think D’Antoni will head down to Orlando and take over now that Stan Van Gundy has been fired. Mike said he hasn’t been contacted by the Magic and isn’t even sure if he’s going to coach next season. If he does coach though I’d assume he tries to get Jeremy Lin to follow.

I’ve said all along Lin is a system point guard and Mike’s system him made him a star. Mike’s brother Dan pretty much backed that point up.

SI.com: When you decided to go to Jeremy Lin as your point guard, did you ever think he could be that good? And as it was happening, did you guys whisper among yourselves, “Man, this can’t go on forever”?

M.D.: Anyone who claims they saw this in Jeremy is kidding himself. But we liked him. We thought he could be good. And, then, when he started to be real good … of course it was surprising … but it somehow made sense. The things he does — he can get into the lane, he can shoot, he’s tough, he’s athletic, his confidence was growing and growing. It became almost logical that he was that good during that time.

D.D.: It comes down to this: Jeremy ran what Mike teaches really, really well.

There’s a lot of other good stuff in there so I’d go check the piece out at Sports Illustrated. The biggest thing I took out of it is that D’Antoni wasn’t forced out he just couldn’t take the pressures of New York anymore and had to walk away.

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