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View Full Version : SI.com: D'Antoni is out in Phoenix



Shade
04-30-2008, 01:01 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jack_mccallum/04/30/suns.dantonio/index.html?eref=T1



SAN ANTONIO -- Mike D'Antoni, the NBA's Coach of the Year for the 2004-05 season and the man credited with reinvigorating fast-break basketball in a league gone stale, will not be back to coach the Phoenix Suns for the 2008-09 season, SI.com has learned.

D'Antoni deferred questions about his job status after the Suns were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

"I'm just really proud of my guys," D'Antoni said after the Spurs' 92-87 win that marked the third time in four years that San Antonio has ended the Suns' season.

D'Antoni did not address his own situation. But sources within the organization confirm that D'Antoni feels he does not have the backing of upper management --specifically owner Robert Sarver and general manager Steve Kerr -- and considers the situation irredeemable.

The Suns have long been one of the NBA's model franchises, and both D'Antoni and Kerr, for whatever differences they might have about the direction of the team, are respected around the league. It's hard to believe, then, that D'Antoni's situation would devolve into an ugly, protracted war, New York Knicks style.

How exactly the scenario unfolds depends largely on whether D'Antoni gets another job offer. The most palatable scenario for all in Phoenix would be this: Team A asks the Suns for permission to talk to D'Antoni, who has two years left on his contract; Suns say OK; D'Antoni interviews and is hired.

One landing spot for him would seem to be Chicago, where general manager John Paxson has not yet replaced Jim Boylan, who himself replaced Scott Skiles (now in charge in Milwaukee). The Bulls underachieved this season under both coaches but would seem to have the kind of offensive nucleus (Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Andres Nocioni) with which D'Antoni could build.

One other possibility is New York, where new president Donnie Walsh is taking his time making a head-coaching decision despite speculation that the hiring of former point guard Mark Jackson is a done deal. There have also been whispers of D'Antoni's taking over in Toronto, where Sam Mitchell's coaching future is an ongoing discussion and where Bryan Colangelo, D'Antoni's former boss in Phoenix and still a close friend, is calling the shots. But Toronto doesn't seem as comfortable a fit for D'Antoni as Chicago or even New York. Don't look for that to happen.

As is the custom with all NBA teams, D'Antoni will meet soon with Sarver and Kerr, together or separately. Kerr said before Sunday's Game 4, which turned out to be the Suns' lone series win, that D'Antoni's departure was not a fait accompli as far as he is concerned. He would not comment on D'Antoni's status after Game 5. But a source said that Kerr would make a few demands in the postseason debriefing: that D'Antoni devote more practice time to defense; have more confidence in his bench players, i.e., go to an expanded rotation; develop a clearer plan for a point guard to back up Steve Nash; and get more planned touches out of Amaré Stoudemire in post-up situations.

D'Antoni, sources say, believes that the situation has been festering all season and that nothing would be accomplished in the meeting. Whatever the circumstances of his departure, it will probably be presented as as a rift between coach and GM, and to a large extent that's true. But when Colangelo left for Toronto, mostly because he and Sarver were doomed not to coexist harmoniously, D'Antoni lost his biggest booster in the front office, as well as a friend. It's what happens in the NBA and in all pro sports.

Over four full seasons D'Antoni racked up a 232-96 record, made the Western finals twice and changed the way that observers both in and out of the league thought about the game. Management might have some legitimate gripes about his defensive coaching, and remember that D'Antoni was a bigger booster of the trade for Shaquille O'Neal than Kerr was.

But Suns management now faces one extremely formidable challenge in l'affaire D'Antoni: finding someone better.

Does anyone else feel he could land in Detroit?<!-- START 'writerCredit' FILE: /.element/ssi/story/4.0/DEFAULT/.branding/default/writerCredit.html --><!-- FINISH 'writerCredit' -->
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Moses
04-30-2008, 01:06 PM
Kerr refuting it.


Suns GM Steve Kerr is refuting reports that head coach Mike D'Antoni won't return to Phoenix next season.
"There's no truth to that," Kerr said. "I asked Mike when the story came out and he denied it." Early speculation had D'Antoni rejoining GM Bryan Colangelo in Toronto, but it now looks like those reports were premature.
http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_main.aspx?sport=NBA&hl=98123&id=417

NapTonius Monk
04-30-2008, 01:46 PM
Oh, sure. Because it made perfect sense to trade away one of your more pivotal pieces for a down the hill, half-immobile, rapidly declining player who fits absolutely nothing that you do. Yep, D'Antonio didn't leave soon enough. :rolleyes: The Phoenix deal and the Jason Kidd deal were clear overreactions to the Laker deal, and they still wound up on the outside looking in.

CableKC
04-30-2008, 02:05 PM
Wow...that is surprising. Maybe Kerr thought that with Shaq in that they must go to an offense that actually plays defense while slowing it down to suit Shaq's game.

idioteque
04-30-2008, 02:44 PM
If he does indeed leave, it is simply because his style of basketball, which revolves around a fast paced offense and minimal defense, doesn't win any championships. Sure, it is fun to watch and a team can do fairly well in the playoffs with it, but not even NBA athletes can withstand the system for a whole season. By about the second round of CF of the playoffs these teams always run out of gas.

maragin
04-30-2008, 02:53 PM
If he does indeed leave, it is simply because his style of basketball, which revolves around a fast paced offense and minimal defense, doesn't win any championships. Sure, it is fun to watch and a team can do fairly well in the playoffs with it, but not even NBA athletes can withstand the system for a whole season. By about the second round of CF of the playoffs these teams always run out of gas.

This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?

idioteque
04-30-2008, 02:58 PM
This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?

I agree with you and although I do like Obie this thought has crossed my mind many a times.

The Pacers aren't going to win the title with our talent level anytime soon, and when you look at our players a lot of them are well, very boring. I think this "fun" way of playing is just an attempt to put some butts in the seats until we can get a decent core of basketball players here. If the Pacers had legit talent I would hope that they would find a coach who advocated a more traditional way of playing basketball.

bread
04-30-2008, 03:00 PM
I just listened to the Suns beat writer on the local sports talk station say that the SI report is bogus. He is still owed 8.5 mil over the next 2 years and management refuses to pay a coach that isn't coaching the Suns. He did say however that the Suns will not prevent him from talking to other teams, so the only way he's not back is if he's coaching somewhere else next year... which is likely.

Anthem
04-30-2008, 03:07 PM
This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?
Yep, but we're also not going to win a championship in the next three years.

The goal is to win some regular-season games while getting new pieces in place.

Since86
04-30-2008, 03:36 PM
Yep, but we're also not going to win a championship in the next three years.

The goal is to win some regular-season games while getting new pieces in place.

New pieces to fit that style, or just new pieces in general?

That's my beef. If TPTB start bringing in guys to fit JOB's system, then we're going to see another period like this, because there will be a transition period from this crap, to a system that will work in the playoffs.

Why not just start building for success, which will get butts back in the seats, instead of delaying it trying to be more entertaining?

Anthem
04-30-2008, 03:45 PM
New pieces to fit that style, or just new pieces in general?
I think just new pieces in general. Especially guys that can shoot.

grace
04-30-2008, 04:12 PM
This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?

Yes, and this is a prime example that it doesn't work.

grace
04-30-2008, 04:13 PM
I think just new pieces in general. Especially guys that can shoot.

You can shoot all you want but if you don't stop the other team from scoring you're going to lose.

NuffSaid
04-30-2008, 05:06 PM
Oh, sure. Because it made perfect sense to trade away one of your more pivotal pieces for a down the hill, half-immobile, rapidly declining player who fits absolutely nothing that you do. Yep, D'Antonio didn't leave soon enough. :rolleyes: The Phoenix deal and the Jason Kidd deal were clear overreactions to the Laker deal, and they still wound up on the outside looking in.
I couldn't have said it better myself.

idioteque
04-30-2008, 05:11 PM
Oh, sure. Because it made perfect sense to trade away one of your more pivotal pieces for a down the hill, half-immobile, rapidly declining player who fits absolutely nothing that you do. Yep, D'Antonio didn't leave soon enough. :rolleyes: The Phoenix deal and the Jason Kidd deal were clear overreactions to the Laker deal, and they still wound up on the outside looking in.

This is why the Gasol deal was so damn good for the Lakers. Not only did it shore up their own talent base, but it also made other teams actually get worse by overreacting and trying to make trades of their own that actually hurt their teams and thus decreased their chances of beating LA or even facing them in the playoffs.

Brilliant. But I'm not giving all the credit to the Lakers here. They got kind of lucky because Memphis was willing to give away Gasol for basically nothing.

idioteque
04-30-2008, 05:13 PM
Why not just start building for success, which will get butts back in the seats, instead of delaying it trying to be more entertaining?

Hey, I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying what I think their thought process is. I actually agree with you and I would be building things in a much different fashion.

The best case scenerio if we keep building this team to run this fast-paced style is that we'll get a lot of talent, but we won't get past the second round of the playoffs or at best the ECF because the team will be worn down by the end of the year. That's just not good enough for me. We should be building this team to win a championship, that's the only goal in sports. They don't give out trophies to the ECF runner up.

NuffSaid
04-30-2008, 06:10 PM
This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?
Not exactly, but it's close.

Most Pacers fans seem to think that small-ball was the way JOB wanted to play all along and that's not true. JOB wanted a faster version of RC's inside-outside game with renewed emphasis on perimeter defense. When Ike and David Harrison went down it left only JO to defend the interior not to mention our PF/C rotations went to hell in a handbasket. From there our poor perimeter defense was exposed. The only option JOB had was to "go Phoenix" and hope that a stronger, faster offense would out-score most opponents. It probably would have worked had JO not gone down and we hadn't lost continuity at PG.

'Twas a nice try, but until the PG rotation was solidified and JO returned to anchor the post, there really wasn't much of a race for the playoffs for this team. But I remained hopeful until the end.

Anthem
04-30-2008, 06:16 PM
You can shoot all you want but if you don't stop the other team from scoring you're going to lose.
Right, because guys who play good defense also won't fit in Jim's system.

Hicks
04-30-2008, 06:22 PM
This is what the Pacers have been building towards, yes?

I say no. Our current roster just isn't good at playing the D necessary to win (regular season or playoffs). I think Jim realizes and emphasizes the important of defense, but he can do that until he's blue and it won't make them better individual players.

Could he change the system? Sure, but if he's here to stay (which for the time being is true), why bother going with some other system (that while it may help the weak defenders, it will probably just expose another glaring weakness in the process) when you can keep the same one for the players who will be staying around (like Danny) to master while you bring in more players who fit the system and will compliment the players that aren't leaving?