Knicks Rumors: Why Mike D'Antoni Has No Prayer to Survive Beyond This Season
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If the situation in New York City really is as bad as what the chatter in the press has made it out to be, then the long-term or maybe even the short-term prospects for head coach Mike D'Antoni are not looking so good.
It's not often that a team makes an in-season coaching change. It's rarer still that the change takes place less than a month from the start of the postseason.
The offseason? Well that's prime time for coaching changes, and barring some sort of miracle turnaround in which the Knicks catch fire and then somehow win a first-round playoff series against one of the league's best teams, then Mike D'Antoni won't be on the sidelines to start next season.
The Knicks made a blockbuster deal to acquire star small forward Carmelo Anthony in February of 2011. Now, as the team implodes, Anthony is taking a fair amount of heat, but Knicks owner James Dolan seems reluctant to make a move. Per the New York Daily News:
"He said he's not trading anyone," said the source with direct contact with Dolan. "He said it's up to the coach to figure it out."—NY Daily News 3/13/12
If it's "up to the coach" then one would have to think the coach would take the blame for not reversing the team's current downward direction.
Add in the rumors that suggest that Carmelo Anthony only wants to remain a Knick if in fact Mike D'Antoni is not the head coach, and D'Antoni is officially backed into a corner.
"On Monday night, Anthony only wanted to remain a Knick if he had assurances D’Antoni wouldn’t be back next season."— NY Post 3/14/12
This goes beyond just Carmelo Anthony, though. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine, Mike D'Antoni has lost his control over the Knicks' locker room.
"The players like Mike as a person," one source said. "They think he's a good guy. But he doesn't have the respect of the team anymore."—ESPN.com 3/14/12
History tells us that regardless of how great a head coach or manager's resume is, once a team has stopped responding to him, it's only a matter of time until a change is made. Joe Torre was let go after winning four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees. Terry Francona was not brought back as manager of the Boston Red Sox after winning the franchise's only two titles since the year 1918.
Mike D'Antoni has only made the postseason once. His resume won't be nearly strong enough to save his job at this point.
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