I was just reading this bit about whether Steve Kerr would consider firing Suns’ Mike D’Antoni…
D’Antoni, sources say, believes that the situation has been festering all season and that nothing would be accomplished in the meeting. Whatever the circumstances of his departure, it will probably be presented as as a rift between coach and GM, and to a large extent that’s true. But when Colangelo left for Toronto, mostly because he and Sarver were doomed not to coexist harmoniously, D’Antoni lost his biggest booster in the front office, as well as a friend. It’s what happens in the NBA and in all pro sports.
Over four full seasons D’Antoni racked up a 232-96 record, made the Western finals twice and changed the way that observers both in and out of the league thought about the game. Management might have some legitimate gripes about his defensive coaching, and remember that D’Antoni was a bigger booster of the trade for Shaquille O’Neal than Kerr was.
But Suns management now faces one extremely formidable challenge in l’affaire D’Antoni: finding someone better.
BUT WAIT… Drama. The Arizona Republic says that the firing is not so:
Suns General Manager Steve Kerr denied that report [that Mike D'Antoni would not return as coach of the Suns] early Wednesday.
“There’s no truth to that,” Kerr said. “I asked Mike when the story came out and he denied it. Mike’s our coach and has done a great job for four years. We’ll get together soon and talk about where this team can go from here.”
With two years and $8.5 million left on his contract, D’Antoni is unlikely to be fired. If he returns, it could be with concessions to change. But there is also the possibility that he leaves of his own accord, especially with a perceived lack of support – and interest from New York and Chicago, both of which have vacancies. There is also the chance Toronto President Bryan Colangelo fired Sam Mitchell to hire the coach he brought to Phoenix from Italy.
An article in this week’s Sports Illustrated will fan the flames. It paints a picture of a divide between the coaching staff and front office staff. It talks about D’Antoni resenting Suns General Manager Steve Kerr working out of San Diego and taking perceived shots at him in the press, and that Kerr thinks D’Antoni is too stubborn to accept Kerr’s suggestions, whether it be in strategy or personnel use.
Sources confirmed an SI anecdote that Kerr and D’Antoni had an early November argument in which Kerr suggested that the Suns feature post-up plays for Amaré Stoudemire more often. That incited D’Antoni, who set off a shouting match that included him saying, “Don’t tell me how to coach offense.”
Someone call the Knicks. MAKE THIS MAN AN OFFER. NOW. A BIG ONE. If there are reports about a dude being fired, he’s probably not on good terms and can be brought to NY. The coach is not worth the number 1 draft pick (in exchange for D’Antoni’s services and the #15 pick…) but… hm… if the Knicks don’t get a top-5 pick, I think I’d trade that pick for D’Antoni. Imagine Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford and David Lee in that system. Imagine the free agents who would want to come to New York. Imagine the buzz in Madison Square Garden.
I am salivating.
There’s a Fire Steve Kerr site already.
I think Obama loafed a little on defense, but he works to get open. Uses screens well, willing to pass. For a 46 year old man, I’d give him a B+.
From the AP:
The Democratic presidential candidate played hoops with the University of North Carolina team on Tuesday, a Final Four squad that cut the 46-year-old some slack.
“These guys move very fast,” puffed Obama, as he raced up and down the court with the much younger and much bigger college players, many of whom dwarfed the 6-foot-2 Obama.
The Illinois senator is a workout enthusiast, and basketball is his chosen game. He decided to open his day with the Tar Heels, including star Tyler Hansbrough, a 6-foot-9 All-American who spent part of his morning guarding Obama.
At one point, Obama slipped past Hansbrough for a layup, which rimmed out. Ever the realist, Obama recognized what had happened.
“Hansbrough went easy on me,” Obama said. “I thought I had it.”
Obama often plays pickup basketball games with local backers. He toured the Tar Heel sports complex with Coach Roy Williams, and conceded he had moved up a notch.
“Let me tell you, these guys are big and fast,” said Obama, catching his breath on the sidelines. In his March NCAA tournament picks, Obama selected North Carolina, but the Tar Heels lost to eventual champion Kansas in the semifinals.
Though the players, who were relishing banging on each other, gave Obama his shots, he was unable to score. At one point he dished off a nifty, behind the back pass that nearly set up an assist.
Neither side kept score.
“I’m the only player who can say he’s going from the high school national championship team to the college championship team. I think it’s pretty cool I can say that,” Taylor said Tuesday after orally committing to KU over Georgia Tech.
That is pretty cool. Look at this recruiting class:
2008 KU recruiting class
Tyshawn Taylor – 6-3, 160, G, Jersey City, N.J. (St. Anthony’s HS)
Tyrone Appleton – 6-3, 195, G, Gary, Ind. (Harmony Prep/Midland (Texas) College)
Mario Little – 6-5, 210, G/F, Chicago, Ill. (Washington HS/Chipola (Fla.) CC)
Marcus Morris – 6-8 1/2, 220, F, Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy (N.J.))
Markieff Morris – 6-10, 230, F/C, Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy (N.J.))
Travis Releford – 6-5, G/F, Roeland Park, Kan. (Roeland Park Miege HS)
Quintrell Thomas – 6-8, 235, F, Elizabeth, N.J. (Saint Patrick HS)
Two Jersey City players, two Philly players (granted, they are twins); I hope in a year’s time some more of these players come to Queens. Though really, I can see why players and students want to leave home for a little bit and join a champion…
Some of the other shirts are cool, but this Son Heir shirt:
is factually misleading.
The “Ya Gotta Believe” quote came from Tug McGraw in 1973, probably making fun of
owner Chairman M. Donald Grant’s pep talk to the Mets team that was 6th in the East Division standings at the time. Those Mets improved from 61-71 to a wildly mediocre 82-79, but knocked of the Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine and played the Oakland A’s hard, losing in 7.
“Ya Gotta Believe” still applies, but the shirt is slants toward revising history.
The Mets came to town with a chance to once more let Chicago know they’re really the third or maybe fourth city by any metric, and get pasted, 7-1 last Monday and 8-1 Tuesday afternoon. I went to Monday’s game, though I didn’t meet up with the other Met fans here. Tuesday I had a chance for a free ticket but I decided not to take it (and get “sick” at work). Better that way. Grand slams by the other team make me ill.
Joe Smith let the fans know he’s got a special kind of heckling love for them, courtesy of the Home Run Derby blog.
We made fun of the Cubs fans too, what with their affinity for calling their team the “Cubbies”*, the jerks behind who were chanting Fukudome’s name as broken up in the most Americanized/ text-message language/ and puerile way, and the “Any Team Can Have a Bad Century” t-shirt I saw.
Lovable losers, indeed.
*My fiancee retorted with “Cubbies? Are we in kindergarten? I left my jacket and my bag in my CUBBIE! Waaaah!”
The boy wonder, Travis Ford, is off to Oklahoma State. Man, that means he won’t come through New York and pay visits to the home bar, where Massholes congregate. And no more visits to Rose Hill gym, where he lovingly signs autographs when you accost him after the game.
We’ll miss you on the East Coast, Ford. But I bet that money is right, and you get back to the south/ midwest.
By the way, on Keno Davis’ hire at Providence and Frank Martin’s extension: how does a guy who gets his team to the second round (as an 11 seed) get a pay package that comes up to $760,000 (Martin), and a similar rookie coach (Davis) who didn’t get out of the first round gets a cool million per year?
Is it the regional difference (Providence is more expensive)?
Is it the cost of getting a guy to move schools?
Is it the “you had an NBA lottery pick” effect?
Just asking. Not that either amount is chump change, and not that either amount is justified. Just asking.
Isiah’s job status is “up in the air” right now, but all indications point to new President Donnie Walsh giving Isiah the boot. The “Fire Isiah” website is already down! I can’t imagine the world with jokes about the Knicks, their management, or their inept management .
Isiah Thomas will likely stay on in some reduced capacity. And, probably to apologize for the crappy basketball, Madison Square Garden is giving free hot dogs, pretzels, soda and water to all who attend tonight’s home finale.
Mark Jackson is a coaching candidate for the Knicks, among others. And the team will likely shop Eddy Curry this summer. The New York Post seems to think he’s more tradeable than Zach Randolph… who is less movable than a mountain.
There will be breathless eulogies for his career, and I can’t wait to read them. Enjoy a taste of Isiah, explaining himself about the “bitch” comment during the Anucha Browne Sanders case (it’s a video deposition):