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D’Antoni regrets leaving Suns for Knicks
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 29, 2012 @ 4:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Paul Coro, USA TODAY Sports
Mike D’Antoni left the Phoenix Suns and the winningest era in franchise history more than four years ago for the New York Knicks.
Now, the new Los Angeles Lakers says he never should have left.
In an interview with ESPN Los Angeles, D’Antoni confessed what he has never even told to Steve Nash, although he and former Suns general manager Steve Kerr have long ago ironed out their acrimonious 2008 parting.
“I shouldn’t have gone to New York,” D’Antoni said. “I should have stuck in there and battled. You don’t get to coach somebody like (Nash) too many times. It’s pretty sacred and you need to take care of it. I didn’t.”
It had been a build-up of circumstances from the rising pressure from fans and the franchise to deliver a championship, some of which was self-induced. D’Antoni’s teams averaged 58 wins over four seasons, the first two of which were Western Conference finals teams. With the Knicks, he went 121-167.
When Kerr became general manager in 2007, he and D’Antoni butted heads early when Kerr questioned D’Antoni after a loss for not posting up Amar’e Stoudemire. From there, D’Antoni never felt like he had the support of the basketball operations office, and grew more sensitive to criticisms.
Kerr publicly tried to rectify the relationship and spoke often about D’Antoni’s coaching acumen and his hope that he would stay on. But D’Antoni quickly asked to be released from his contract after a first-round exit to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2008 playoffs.
There were talks to find common ground but D’Antoni felt like there were too many stipulations hanging over his head and he was allowed to job search with the Chicago Bulls and Knicks.
“I think we got frustrated and I got frustrated,” D’Antoni told ESPN Los Angeles. “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 … [For more on Lakers' Mike D'Antoni regrets leaving Suns for Knicks, click here.]
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