D'Antoni could be fall guy if Knicks continue to fail

March 27, 2011|By Mark Heisler, Tribune Newspapers

Has the Mike D'Antoni countdown begun in New York?

With the Knicks unable to run his offense and playing no defense before owner James Dolan traded most of their players for Carmelo Anthony — guess who gets to be the scapegoat?

D'Antoni has done all he can do to keep himself from screaming he hated the Anthony deal.

Here's what he said last week about the Knicks' and Nuggets' differing directions:

"We were going well on a team that was playing a certain way and in the playoffs, and they (Nuggets) were kinda up and down because of the situation that was there. (It was) like taking a restraint off of them and 'Wow, look at what we got!'

"And ours was, 'We don't know what we have.'"

Don't cry for him, Gotham.

If he gets fired, D'Antoni would have $6 million coming and this mess in his rearview mirror.

Everyone else has to stay.

Of course, there are reasons for the Knicks' struggles, the Knicks keep insisting, like no time to practice and the latest and whiniest: We're tired.

Deciding practice wasn't so important after all, D'Antoni canceled one last week after Amare Stoudemire saw it on the schedule and ran in to see him.

Stoudemire's take on the Knicks' struggles?

"We're staying together, we're still focused," he said. "We're not quite panicking."

But check back tomorrow.

Other budding debacles: Celtics coach Doc Rivers had this to say after Friday's home loss to the Bobcats:

"We're just not ready to win any games right now. … I told them that with about five minutes left. I said. 'If we win, great, you find your own way.'

"Everything is me, me, me on our team right now, feeling sorry for themselves. … I could care less about their slumps. It's not hard, you keep playing."

Knuckleheads ball: With super-prospect John Wall, the Wizards have a bunch of wild ones, from Nick Young, who's getting it, to shot-blocking machine JaVale McGee, to the most talented, most often arrested and suspended, 6-foot-11, 260-pound Andray Blatche.

"Dray is a work in progress," GM Ernie Grunfeld told the Washington Post. "He's trying and working on it. This is really the first season where he's gotten significant minutes for the whole season."

Unfortunately, Blatche's workload didn't preclude getting in a barroom fight with McGee as teammate Al Thornton, trying to separate them, was punched by a bouncer.

The Wizards said it was "simply a disagreement between teammates."

We know what you mean: Chauncey Billups, Anthony's teammate in Denver and New York, to CBSSports.com: "The problem is, he's always been so good that the system has always been just whatever he kind of wants, you know what I mean?"

mheisler@tribune.com

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