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Report: D’Antoni wanted to trade ‘Melo for Deron Williams

Mar 14, 2012, 5:04 PM EDT

New Jersey Nets v New York Knicks Getty Images

We know that now-former New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and team owner James Dolan met Wednesday morning and came out of that meeting deciding to resign because of differences in how they saw the future of the organization.

Those differences were major — D’Antoni wanted to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Nets for Deron Williams. So reports David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com.

D’Antoni, the source said, had been advocating that the Knicks attempt to trade Anthony to the New Jersey Nets for guard Deron Williams, a deal D’Antoni believed would be beneficial for both franchises. But Dolan categorically declined that request, and the “conflicting visions” between the owner and head coach about Anthony meant there was no way forward.

D’Antoni had hoped the Knicks’ inspired and winning play with Lin as the centerpiece — while Anthony and Stoudemire were injured — would convince Dolan the Knicks could win without Anthony.

D’Antoni and Anthony clearly had differences and the coach didn’t think he could run his offense right with Anthony in it. In recent games Anthony had been setting up in his preferred area on the elbow extended, which threw off the spacing of the Knicks pick-and-roll with Jeremy Lin. The whole offense fell apart and became desperation isolations.

But this is bigger than just play sets — this is about how to build a team to fit a system. D’Antoni may or may not have been able to win with his style in New York but we’ll never know because the Knicks management kept giving him an ill-fitting roster that would never work with what he wanted to run. At one point he had a good point guard for his system — which is point-guard dependent — in Raymond Felton, but he was traded to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Which brought in Chauncey Billups — not as good a system fit but solid. Then he was amnestied to make way for Tyson Chandler and not really replaced. Had they not lucked into Jeremy Lin the Knicks would have had all their hopes pinned on the already strained back on Baron Davis.

D’Antoni wanted a guy that fits his system. Dolan put a lot of effort into getting Anthony to New York (pushing aside then decision maker Donnie Walsh to do it). Dolan loves ‘Melo. It was a battle D’Antoni could not win, so he chose to leave the battlefield.

  1. fouldwimmerlaik - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Looks like Dolan isn’t much concerned with the X’s and O’s… more like $’s to me. I really don’t think he cares about the fans and the people his franchise represents. I feel for Spike Lee and all those real Knicks fans.

    Mind, I’m no D’Antoni fan, but what direction does Dolan plan to steer his organization? And in what manner?

  2. mungman69 - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    The Knicks have so much talent but no team. It seems that Melo is a cancer. He doesn’t play in offensive sets and plays no defense at all. We all saw what the Knicks are with and without Melo.

  3. whatnojets - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Dolan may be rich but he is defintly por when it comes to brains!

  4. geo59 - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Sorry Kurt but you have it backwards. It’s not up to the Knicks to build a roster that fits D’Antoni’s system. It’s up to D’Antoni to build a system that fits the Knicks’ roster. Isn’t that a coach’s primary job? It’s not like D’Antoni is Phil Jackson. He really doesn’t have a time-tested championship winning system. D’Antoni is a good guy but it’s good that he’s gone. The idea that Anthony should change his game so that Jeremy Lin and Tyson Chandler can run pick and rolls is lol funny. The Knicks didn’t get Anthony to play defense and they sure didn’t get Chandler to play offense. For that matter, they weren’t expecting Amare to suddenly become a great defensive player either. That’s why they got Chandler. I’d been waiting patiently for somebody to realize that D’Antoni was the problem. Trying to blame Carmelo is just an indication of the blamer not having good basketball knowledge. Maybe now the Knicks can play to their strong suits and win some games. Go Knicks!!!

  5. 24thesho - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    D’Antoni’s system has never really worked enough to win a championship and the defense was terrible more often than not. It would have been marketing suicide to get Deron Williams and pass on Lin’s progress at the “point”. I mean, they have won 3 in a row (so far) and it’s a 66 game season with no training camp. When you see a player such as Lin start to grow and become a factor, you don’t screw up the momentum of this Knicks team. The Knicks are not going to win a ring this year, and besides, the Nets didn’t seem to be doing that great with D. Will, at least, from what I can see. So I say let Woodson complete the season after we see how far they can go, then see, depending how far the go in they playoffs providing they make it in, and if Phil Jackson does become interested and if they do get Jackson hopefully he wouldn’t trade Lin or or take him out of the starting line up. Let Lin Grow!

  6. dennisofletcher - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Gee, let’s get this thread straight. Everyone is pouring love and sorrow for Mr. D’Antoni and jeers and scorn towards Dolan and Melo. Hmmm. Let’s examine some facts.

    1. Number of championships that D’Antoni and his vaunted ‘system’ has produced: 0
    2. Overall record of Mr. D’Antoni’s pro coaching career: 388-339, or .533 winning pct.
    3. Record in conference championships in NBA over almost 10 seasons: 0-2
    4. Olympic Dream Team performance with Mr. D’Antoni’s coaching expertise: Bronze medal. The worst performance by an Olympic Dream Team.

    While it may be too early, the recent 4 game winning streak seems to bear some bit of truth to both Dolan’s and Melo’s covert statements regarding D’Antoni.
    The bottom line is: Mr. D’Antoni is NOT a winner and I don’t think he ever will be.
    P.S. Yes, I know he won a championship in Italy. However, that is way minor league compared to the NBA.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:24 AM

      He also was an assistant coach on the Team USA squad that won the gold Beijing. Felt that needed to be in there if you are going to point out the bronze.

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