Ex-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni opens up about March departure
It just came to him.
Former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's decision in March to resign - a key chapter in the team's volcanic 2011-12 season of Melodrama, Linsanity and everything in between - was made from behind the wheel on his way to a Wednesday morning shootaround, SI.com reported Monday.
"I absolutely resigned," said D'Antoni, whose replacement, Mike Woodson, led the Knicks to a first-round playoff exit last month. "I was in my car driving to shootaround and it just came to me. That's it. It's inevitable. I have to resign. We're not going anywhere. I made the decision then and there."
In his first interview since his fourth season in New York was cut short, D'Antoni chafed when SI.com's Jack McCallum referred to the resignation as "quitting."
"Could you use the word 'resign?' It hurts when I even hear the word 'quit,'" said D'Antoni, who gave the interview at his suburban home north of the city. "It hurt a lot. It still does."
Speculation was rampant at the time that with the team backsliding at 19-23, the Knicks brass had forced D'Antoni's resignation, but the coach backed up the team's assertion that the parting was D'Antoni's decision.
As for any reported conflicts with star forward Carmelo Anthony over the then-increasing offensive focus on breakout point guard Jeremy Lin, D'Antoni demurred.
"I'm not getting into that," he said.
Several NBA teams are rumored to be interested in the 61-year-old coaching veteran, among them is the Orlando Magic, who fired coach Stan Van Gundy Monday.
D'Antoni said he is eyeing a return to the sidelines.
"I'm not making a secret about that," he said. "I want to get back."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns amNewYork.