Suns' Coach Mike D'Antoni Allowed to Interview w/ Bulls, Knicks
Former Suns coach... Errr...so it's not 100% official yet, but the writing is on the wall.
GM Steve Kerr and owner Robert Sarver have given Suns' coach Mike D'Antoni permission to seek interviews w/ other teams. The three met on Friday to determine if Mike would be able to continue coaching the team and apparently he cannot. Whether that's because Mike is stubborn and wants to focus only on offense or if he's lost the locker room (see Amare's post-playoff comments), it really doesn't matter. D'Antoni is basically gone - black & white.
D'Antoni will be interviewing for both the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks positions. Mike would be an idiot to take over in New York, considering the media scrutiny and roster of slower, half-court offense minded players. The best situation would be for him to end up in Chicago, where his uptempo style would immediately be utilized with a young, talented roster.
Think about it... Hinrich is Nash, Gordon is Barbosa, Nocioni is Marion (ok, maybe not)... plus, he'll have a hustle player in Noah, a post player in Thomas and several other role players that can make the fast-paced style work. Probably not as well as it did in PHX, but it would still be an improvement for the Bulls.
So where does that leave the Suns, who really don't have any strong candidates to replace D'Antoni.
Avery Johnson is available, and he has experience leading a mostly offensive team to the promised land (the Finals). The knocks against him - he couldn't win the championship and his team has been bounced in the 1st round of the playoffs each of the past 2 years. If he could even improve the Suns defense (good luck), then he might be a 1 year solution as a last ditch attempt at a title.
Also available are: Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson (rumored to by high on Knicks list), Doug Collins and a slew of other "ok" coaches.
My personal choice would be Van Gundy, but I couldn't stand the slow, half-court offense that has been a staple of his previous teams (Knicks, Rockets). His personality seems a little abrasive as well, so the Suns' players would be in for a major shock & adjustment (compared to D'Antoni's laid back style).
Whatever happens, Suns' fans are certainly in for an exciting summer of action. A new coach and perhaps some trades - plus the NBA Draft, assuming we don't sell off all of our picks again.
Let us know who you'd like to see take over or why D'Antoni should stay.