Knicks’ Dolan, Woodson talk D’Antoni resignation

Knicks owner James Dolan at Wednesday's press conference.

The Knicks finally made the transition most people were expecting since the start of the 2011-12 season when they accepted the abrupt resignation of head coach Mike D’Antoni.   
 
The veteran coach decided to call it quits when he came to a “mutually agreed decision” prior to the team’s Wednesday morning shootaround. D’Antoni, who went 121-167 during his three-plus seasons in New York, wasn’t made available for comment as the Knicks prepared to face the Trail Blazers Wednesday night.   

His former bosses, team owner James Dolan and team president Glen Grunwald, addressed the media and tried their best to make it seem like this was all D’Antoni’s idea. The duo pumped up the now-fallen coach as an unselfish team player who decided to fall on his own sword. They also made it a point to tell all that superstar Carmelo Anthony had nothing to do with D’Antoni now being unemployed.   

“It wasn’t just Carmelo. It was the whole team not playing up to where we wanted to be. Maybe there needed to be a new approach,” said Grunwald, who said the move was a total shock. “There was no called meeting. It was a surprise this morning when Mike came to this decision and would no longer coach the Knicks.”   

Dolan, who read a prepared statement and declined to answer questions afterwards, tried his best to back up Grunwald’s assertions that it was a surprise, but sounded as if the team had no desire to let the coach finish out his lame-duck tenure.    
   
“This was not an event that was planned in any way. It just happened,” said Dolan. “[D’Antoni] felt it was for the best for the organization if he was not to coach the team. … He offered to stay, but after a long discussion we agreed it was for the best that he didn’t coach the team.”    

Now leading the circus is assistant coach Mike Woodson. Thought by many to be the heir for D’Antoni upon being hired last August, Woodson has the task of getting the sliding Knicks back into playoff contention during the team’s final 24 games.     

Woodson, who coached the Hawks from 2004-10 and led them to the playoffs from 2008-10, said he still believes the Knicks can make a push.    
 
“There’s still a lot at stake here that needs to be done,” Woodson said. “Expectations are still high and that’s the only way it should be. We still have a great opportunity to do something special and I’ll hold those guys accountable to it.”   

One guy who wasn’t made accountable for media obligations was Anthony. The superstar reportedly had it in for D’Antoni ever since the trade for the star last February. D’Antoni preached an offense of ball movement, everyone touching the ball and everyone getting the green light to shoot. Anthony, however, is a ball-dominant swingman who likes isolations and controlling the tempo in his own way. It was a matchup brewed for disaster, which only bubbled with contention during the recent six-game slide. The tipping point in the star-coach relationship apparently blew up during Linsanity and the team’s winning streak — all while Anthony sat out with injury.       

D’Antoni was never a fan of the Anthony trade to begin with, so it came as no surprise when the coach proposed a Anthony for Deron Williams trade as recently as a week ago, according to TNT’s David Aldridge. Dolan nixed that idea, however, as it was Dolan who brought Anthony over from Denver in the first place.  

Obviously the superstar won this tug-of-war, which means Woodson should be leery of trying to get Anthony to conform too much to his defensive style, unless incur the same wrath that D’Antoni felt. That isn’t speculation because Dolan already put Woodson’s feet to the fire when he basically put the interim coach on notice, before Woodson even coached a game.  

“When we all talked this morning we agreed he [Woodson] would take over for the rest of the season, [but] he understands that he will be reevaluated at the end of the season,” Dolan said. “I believe in our players and their talent and their commitment to get this right. I believe we have a lot of talent and the right characters to succeed. … I understand it’s been a tough stretch, but the season is not over. This team can still be the team that everyone hopes they can be.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Activists, public advocate, announce new MTA measures to…

The MTA is taking new approaches to combating sexual harassment, including adding cameras in new trains and an improved reporting system for victims and witnesses.…

Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

NFL

Source: Drafting Geno Smith was '100 percent' John…

It might have been a “Jets decision” as general manager John Idzik likes to say, but it wasn't a unanimous decision to draft Geno Smith last year.

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.