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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Report: D’Antoni takes Knicks’ job

Bringing in a coach for six million per season will not solve the extensive problems facing the Knicks. Unfortunately, D'Antoni's high octane coaching style does not fit in well with the current Knicks roster or their long standing philosophy of how to play.

NEW YORK (TICKER) —Mike D’Antoni will become the next head coach of the New York Knicks, Sports Illustrated reported on its web site Saturday.

According to SI, the former Phoenix Suns coach accepted New York’s offer of a four-year contract worth $24 million. The Knicks have yet to comment on the report.

D’Antoni, who had two years remaining on his contract with the Suns that would have paid him nearly $9 million, reportedly also was mulling an offer from the Chicago Bulls.

D’Antoni appeared to have no future with the Suns when the team granted him permission earlier in the week to speak with other clubs about their head-coaching vacancies.

The Arizona Republic reported that the relationship between D’Antoni and Suns general manager Steve Kerr has been strained since the two had an argument in November.

D’Antoni, who turned 57 on Thursday, interviewed with the Knicks and Bulls. His personality alone would seem to be a breath of fresh air in New York after the disastrous reign of Isiah Thomas.

D’Antoni is known for his laid-back approach and stresses up-tempo basketball. Under his watch, the Suns were one of the NBA’s highest-scoring and most entertaining teams, although they were unable to advance beyond the Western Conference finals.

This year, the Suns were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in five games, their first opening-round exit from the playoffs since 2003.

D’Antoni posted a 253-136 record in his four-plus seasons as coach of the Suns.

In New York, he would have the tall task of trying to rebuild the league’s most dysfunctional franchise while changing its culture of losing.

One of the first moves made by new Knicks president Donnie Walsh was to fire Thomas, who posted a 56-108 record in his two seasons as coach.

New York has endured seven straight losing seasons, including a 23-59 mark this year that matched the worst record in the franchise’s history.

Thomas also alienated the team’s fan base for his decisions as general manager. He loaded up on expensive contracts - creating major salary cap problems - while failing to build a competitive team.

Thomas also found controversy off the court, causing further embarrassment for the franchise.
In November, Madison Square Garden reached an out-of-court settlement for $11.5 million with former executive Anucha Browne Sanders, who had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Thomas, Knicks owner James Dolan and the Garden.

In addition, Thomas spent most of the season feuding with guard Stephon Marbury and benched center Eddie Curry.

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