West to East in the NBA: Is Mike D'Antoni Move a Sign of Things to Come?
As Mike D'Antoni is looking into real estate trends in New York, will his move signal a growing trend of players and coaches moving to the easier Eastern Conference for a chance to win the big one?
It's obvious that D'Antoni was a great coach in Phoenix but for some reason could never get over the hump to even reach the NBA finals. Year after year he helped guide the Suns to compete for the top honors in the Western Conference and even had the league's most valuable player twice, the league's top sixth man last year, most improved player in 2006 and won the coach of the year award in 2005. This list of accolades just got him a pat on the back from management and an offseason searching for answers.
Hey, it's no secret that the Eastern Conference is where you go if you want to improve your chances to get to the finals. While his choice to join the Knicks doesn't make a ton of sense, his thought process could've been to coach a team in a winnable conference next season while making more money.
Just look at the recent trade and success of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, two great players from the Western Conference that couldn't even make the playoffs most years. Garnett was always the big mystery with his inability to make Minnesota a consistent winner. The two have teamed up with Paul Pierce and won the most games in the NBA. Rashard Lewis would be another great player that made the move east to enjoy success. In his first year in Orlando he helped guide them to a third seed spot in the playoffs.
Will more trades and coaching moves take place because of this? Only time will tell, but there are some job openings for other coaches to consider, such as with the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. With their young talent, the Bulls could attract an experienced coach and the Heat will have a top pick in this year's draft.
These prospects may be enticing enough to move some coaches from their cozy confines to an Eastern Conference coaching position.
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