We are now learning more of the details behind Mike D’Antoni’s sudden resignation earlier today.
A source with knowledge of the discussions says D’Antoni and Knicks chairman James Dolan mutually agreed to terminate D’Antoni’s job with New York after the two met this morning.
D’Antoni, the source said, had been advocating that the Knicks attempt to trade Anthony to the New Jersey Nets for guard Deron Williams, a deal D’Antoni believed would be beneficial for both franchises. But Dolan categorically declined that request, and the “conflicting visions” between the owner and head coach about Anthony meant there was no way forward.
D’Antoni had hoped the Knicks’ inspired and winning play with Lin as the centerpiece — while Anthony and Stoudemire were injured — would convince Dolan the Knicks could win without Anthony. Bringing Williams from the Nets would also have eases the burden on Lin, D’Antoni believed, allowing Lin to settle into a three-guard rotation.
Frankly, I agree with D’Antoni.
Despite my misgivings as a “basketball purist” about a coach for whom defense is barely an afterthought, giving him a ball-stopping, iso-needing shot-hunter like Carmelo Anthony for whom defense is also barely an afterthought is one of the worst coach-player pairings I can think of.
But giving him a dynamic playmaker/scorer like Deron Williams, to pair with an emerging player like Jeremy Lin, plus the other pieces the Knicks have? Brilliant!
I realize Deron Williams doesn’t have the “Q rating” of a guy like Carmelo, at least not right now now, and that is important in a market like New York, but Williams also doesn’t come with the same level of me-first Carmelodrama that the NBA’s most one-dimensional superstar brings. (If you haven’t realized that I’m not a huge Carmelo Anthony fan, at least a centerpiece of a potential NBA champion, just know that I am not a huge fan of Carmelo Anthony as the centerpiece of an NBA champion.)
Even though I don’t like D’Antoni is the kind of coach to lead a championship team, I’d still love to see him surface in another NBA city or perhaps even in college. I think there is a place for his style of basketball. Paul Westhead made Loyola Marymount relevant there for a bit. If D’Antoni can’t get another NBA job (which he should), he should go to a fledgling big conference school or anonymous mid-major and make them relevant. He could do what Mike Leach did for football at Texas Tech. It sure would be fun.
Just keep him away from Carmelo Anthony.
In related news, click on this link. It’s the best Mike D’Antoni picture you’ll see today…guaranteed.