Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Knicks to replace D’Antoni and/or Billups?

The way the Knicks have struggled with Chauncey Billups running Mike D’Antoni’s offense has rival executives wondering whether one of them — or both — won’t be back next season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The coach and coach on-the-floor could soon be out of work.

There are rumors the New York Knicks will cut ties with sideline boss Mike D’Antoni and point guard Chauncey Billups at season’s end.

Like all things New York Knicks, it’s complicated.

D’Antoni’s future is linked to executive Donnie Walsh. Unbelievably, Walsh, who brought the Knicks back to respectability after years of dysfunction under Isiah Thomas, may be pushed out at year’s end.

This would trickle down to the bench. D’Antoni was Walsh’s choice. And the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ guru is protected with Walsh in the executive suite.

Walsh wasn’t the choice of owner James Dolan, though. He was the choice of Commissioner David Stern, who ‘suggested’ Dolan hire the veteran executive after Thomas’ shenanigans and tomfoolery became too great a black eye for league head office to ignore.

Dolan, who resents being told what to do, may re-hire his buddy Thomas. And ‘Zeke’ would then replace D’Antoni with his guy on the sideline.

This brings us to Billups. He has struggled to appease the club’s two scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Billups is slated to earn $14 million in 2012; however, he can be bought out for $3.7 million. Expect the Knicks to exercise this clause –especially if the muscular table-setter can’t become Mr. Big Shot down the stretch or in the playoffs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Billups won’t be back. The club could buy him out and re-sign him for considerably less money. Or, player and team could simply part ways. Nothing is set in stone.

There’s a famous saying ‘Only in New York’. Perhaps this should be revised to ‘Only in New York with the Knicks’.

–Oly Sandor.

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