- ( Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Mike D'Antoni, former head coach of the New York Knicks, is finally speaking out about resigning from the team in March and helping contribute to the rise of Jeremy Lin in the NBA.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, D'Antoni spoke about how tough it was to resign after the Knicks were stuck in a six-game losing streak with him at the helm. Although D'Antoni didn't feel comfortable speaking about forward Carmelo Anthony having anything to do with his departure, he did say that it was time for him to go.
"I'm just not going to get into specifics. It came to the point that I had to resign, that's all," D'Antoni told SI. "It was time. We weren't going anywhere and I was the coach."
D'Antoni spoke about his thought process when making the decision.
"I absolutely resigned. I was in my car driving to shootaround and it just came to me. That's it. It's inevitable," D'Antoni told the publication. "I have to resign. We're not going anywhere."
The former Knicks coach spoke about going through the process of calling Knicks' general managers Glen Grunwald, who relayed the message to team owner James Dolan.
"Glen called in Mr. Dolan [Knicks owner James Dolan] and I met them after shootaround and told them that I was resigning," the former Knicks coach said.
Although D'Antoni admitted that his style was not the best fit for New York's players, he did speak about helping bring one player to the forefront in the form of "Linsanity."
The 23-year-old point guard spoke about the importance of developing his game in D'Antoni's system.
"The way that he creates a system and, every single game, during walkthrough he does something different, and he'll do it to adjust to that specific team's defense," Lin told reporters in a press conference during his winning streak in February. "He makes us look good ... but it's pretty fun."
Still, D'Antoni admitted that no one could have predicted that Lin would become an international phenomenon in the NBA.
"Anyone who claims they saw this in Jeremy is kidding himself. But we liked him. We thought he could be good," D'Antoni said. "And, then, when he started to be real good ... of course it was surprising ... but it somehow made sense. The things he does -- he can get into the lane, he can shoot, he's tough, he's athletic, his confidence was growing and growing."
Still, D'Antoni said he has accepted that his time has come and gone with the team. With Mike Woodson looking to turn his title of interim coach of the Knicks to something more permanent, D'Antoni said he wishes the team nothing but good luck.
"I'm not going to do any woe-is-me. There's a lot of pressure but that's why they pay you," D'Antoni told SI. "It's still a great job, and I think Woody [Woodson] will do a great job. It got to the point where we had problems, we could not solve them, and an obstacle had to be removed."