Enough time has passed now that D’Antoni can admit where he went wrong. It’s not one of those plays he regrets, it’s a decision.
His decision to leave.
“I shouldn’t have gone to New York,” he says, looking down at the sideline in Memphis, pacing on that unstable right leg.
“I should have stuck in there and battled. You don’t get to coach somebody like him [Nash] too many times. It’s pretty sacred and you need to take care of it. I didn’t.”
D’Antoni has never told Nash this.
It feels good to confess.
“I think we got frustrated and I got frustrated. That’s why I left. We were there, it seemed like we deserved it, and then it seemed like something happened all the time. Maybe we weren’t good enough either. We have to understand that.
“I probably irrationally made a decision right when the season was over. You should take a month to figure it out. I shouldn’t have left. That was my fault.”
The story I’ve always heard is that it was a mutual parting. The Suns’ ownership group and new general manager Steve Kerr pushed him to hire a defensive assistant. His system was questioned. Everything was.
Sure the Suns could outscore everyone, but could they win a championship? Could D’Antoni? Was the team flawed? Was he? Did they just have horrible luck? Did he need to change? Could he?
When the Knicks job came open in the spring of 2008, the Suns let him go.
“No. It was me,” D’Antoni admits now. “I initiated it and I probably shouldn’t have.”
Via ESPN NY
For some reason, Mike D’Antoni’s quotes have sparked outrage throughout the Knick fan base today and I don’t really understand why. Well, I do understand actually. Many Knick fans dislike D’Antoni and blame much of the team’s underachievement on him. Fine. People are entitled to their opinions and D’Antoni wasn’t perfect in New York. Having said that, to get outraged over these quotes is completely asinine.
If you actually read what D’Antoni said and the context in which he said it, it is pretty obvious that he isn’t taking a shot at the Knicks. If you actually read what he said, you’d see that he is talking about the remorse he has for leaving Phoenix. D’Antoni talks about how he should never have left Steve Nash and the good thing they had going. He talks about regretting his decision to initiate conflict with Suns management that ultimately led to his departure.
Nowhere in these quotes does D’Antoni ever go into his tenure in New York. He already spoke about this during his introductory press conference. The Lakers coach took the high road and was as classy as could be about his previous job. This is a classic case of the media turning a non-story into something that it isn’t.
The headline has been “D’Antoni regrets taking Knicks job” but very clearly that wasn’t the point of what he actually said. So for all you Knicks fans that are outraged about this, pump the breaks on your anger. These quotes aren’t a big deal, they don’t attack James Dolan, Carmelo Anthony, or the Knick organization. This is D’Antoni expressing remorse for leaving the Suns, not for taking the Knicks job.
Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino
Like Meloship of the Ring on Facebook