Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Will 2012 be awkward for D’Antoni and Knicks?

D’Antoni told The Post yesterday, in his first interview since the season ended, that he is not concerned about his future with the Knicks. “No, I feel good,” D’Antoni said. “I hate it Donnie is leaving. I owe a lot to him. We had three good years. He did exactly what he wanted and said he would do and he’s got us in position to be one of the better teams in the NBA next year. That’s to his credit."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Things will be awkward for Mike D’Antoni, the coach of the New York Knicks.

After all, the man who hired him, Donnie Walsh, no longer has the final word and is a consultant. A new executive will be brought in, and, no matter what he claims, he’ll eventually want his guy on the sideline.

Inheriting a coach is tough. The new executive and inherited coach have to build trust, familiarity, and win. And they must do it fast.

It can also be useful. Suppose the Knicks falter early in 2011-12. The new executive has a chip to play: D’Antoni. He can get a mulligan by firing ‘Mr. Seven Seconds Or Less’ and bringing in his guy.

The labour uncertainty will help D’Antoni, though. Owner James Dolan won’t want to fire D’Antoni because he’d have to honour his $6 million contract and pay another big-ticket coach.

Remember, teams will have less revenue next year if a work stoppage shortens the season. Paying two coaches isn’t easy –even for the wealthy Knicks.

Odds are that D’Antoni stays in New York. 2012 won’t be easy, regardless of how he spins it.  

–Oly Sandor.

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