D'Antoni Safe?

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It looks like Mike D’Antoni will likely return next season as Knicks head coach. But it comes with a somewhat major “if”. D’Antoni, who has been reluctant to do so in the past, is apparently being forced by the upper legions to bring in a defensive minded pseudo sidekick. This from Frank Isola:

D’Antoni is under contract through next season and is expected to be retained after leading the Knicks to their first postseason appearance in seven years. However, under D’Antoni the Knicks have been among the league’s weaker defensive teams, which is something Walsh would like to change.

Memphis assistant Dave Joerger, Orlando’s Steve Clifford, Portland’s Bill Bayno and Chicago’s Ron Adams are all regarded as top defensive coaches. Another possibility for the Knicks is Thibodeau’s replacement in Boston, Lawrence Frank, the former Nets’ coach. Frank’s contract expires this summer.

A move to hire another assistant does not necessarily mean one of D’Antoni’s current assistants will be removed. Phil Weber, Dan D’Antoni, Herb Williams and the highly regarded Ken Atkinson are all expected to be retained. D’Antoni, who is expected to acquiesce to management, has made it clear that he wants to remain in New York. However, there will be several job openings this summer that D’Antoni might find attractive, including one with Golden State, whose roster has players better suited to play D’Antoni’s up-tempo system than the Knicks currently do.

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Tags: Mike D'Antoni

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