Apparently it was an ultimatum from Carmelo Anthony that led to Mike D’Antoni’s resignation in New York.
D’Antoni made that claim in a long profile published by ESPN, which highlighted his current successful campaign in Houston and included a line that “Anthony said the team needed to choose between him and D’Antoni.”
“I just went in and quit,” D’Antoni said.
This is the second time in two years D’Antoni has placed the blame on Anthony for sabotaging his coaching in New York, claiming on a podcast with The Vertical last summer that players held resentment toward Jeremy Lin and he couldn’t get Anthony to move to power forward to accommodate the point guard.
“So now it’s like, what are we going to do? We could see how to go and I didn’t know how to get there and with losing again and you’re trying to prod them and you’re trying to tell ‘em to play harder and all the coach’s speak and communication just like deteriorated,” D’Antoni said.
D’Antoni went a disappointing 121-167 as Knicks coach, leaving in 2012 about a year after the team acquired Anthony.
The ‘space and pace’ enthusiast, who just won co-Coach of the Year with Erik Spoelstra from the National Basketball Coaches Association, was against acquiring Anthony from the Nuggets but was overruled by James Dolan.
In his final season, Linsanity emerged and the style of play was briefly more in line with D’Antoni’s philosophies.
Anthony, who was injured for the birth of Linsanity, did not want to change for Lin’s sake.
Eventually D’Antoni and Lin left, and the Knicks won 54 games with Anthony starring the following season.
“(Carmelo and I) don’t have a bad relationship. I speak to him. He’s a good guy,” D’Antoni, who coached Anthony as an assistant with Team USA, said last year on The Vertical podcast. “But I had one vision that I wanted him to play one way. He wanted to go the other way. I couldn’t get to my way.”
But D’Antoni and Carmelo do have something in common these days: disinterest in Phil Jackson’s triangle.
“If the triangle hit me upside the head, I wouldn’t know what it was anyway,” D’Antoni said before playing the Knicks last season.
D’Antoni fumbled with the Lakers after leaving the Knicks, but found a perfect fit for his system in Houston — where he and James Harden earned the third seed in the Western Conference.