It’s been a while since we’ve seen Mike D’Antoni, the former coach of the New York Knicks that was railroaded by defeat before making his impromptu exit from the bench. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, D’Antoni opens up to Jack McCallum about the events that led to his resignation and what the future holds for him.
“I absolutely resigned. I was in my car driving to shootaround and it just came to me,” D’Antoni said. “That's it. It's inevitable. I have to resign. We're not going anywhere. I made the decision then and there.”
He proceeded to call Knicks’ general manager Glen Grunwald and the team’s owner James Dolan to tell his bosses he was leaving.
Turns out that the older D’Antoni, Dan, who was the assistant coach for the Knicks didn’t hear it from his brother himself. “You (Mike) called me later, but I got that first call from Glen,” Dan said, also present at the interview and let go after Mike resigned. “He told me that they were letting Phil [Weber, another assistant] and me go because we were too close to Mike. One minute I'm going to the game, the next minute I'm out of a job.
Mike, who coached the Knicks for almost three years after saying yes to a four-year, $24 million offer in 2008, didn’t roast or point fingers at any of his players after leaving, or at least, go into specifics. When asked about his relationship with the team’s star Carmelo Anthony, he said. “It came to the point that I had to resign, that's all. It was time. We weren't going anywhere and I was the coach.” He spoke to most of the team after the news broke.
Mike also addressed the possible rumors that he would head the Brooklyn Nets or hang with the Orlando Magic, two positions he says he knows nothing of. “The truth is, you can't win when those stories come out. Nobody has called me about the Orlando job,” he said. “When I saw those stories, I immediately texted Stan [Van Gundy, the Magic coach] and told him it was bullsh*t.”
Despite the negativity surrounding his disappearance, D’Antoni is hopeful that he’ll return to the basketball stage in the future as coach. “I’m not making a secret about that,” he admits. “I want to get back.”