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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 03/15/2012

Mike D’Antoni resigns as Knicks coach; who will replace him? (Don’t say Phil Jackson.)


The Knicks’ season in seven words: Mike D’Antoni, Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony (from left to right). (Bill Kostroun/ AP)

For better or worse, Mike D’Antoni has hopped the bus out of town, leaving Mike Woodson to serve as the interim coach who will try to corral Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks into something resembling a cohesive team.

D’Antoni nearly managed to upstage the Goldman Sachs guy with his sudden resignation Wednesday afternoon. Unlike Greg Smith, who left Goldman with a stinging New York Times op-ed that ripped a toxic culture, D’Antoni wasn’t talking about his decision. He was just gone like Keyser Soze. Nor was there a clue earlier in the day at the shootaround. In fact, his last words to his players were “ ‘See you tonight,’ ” Iman Shumpert told ESPN New York. “So like I said, it’s a shock to us.”


Mike Woodson (ADAM HUNGER / Reuters)
Perhaps it shouldn’t have been. D’Antoni, Harvey Araton writes, never stood a chance after Donnie Walsh left Madison Square Garden last summer. And finally, dysfunction caught up to the 18-24 team. There was a brief blip of excitement during the Linsanity of February, when Jeremy Lin led the team to a 10-5 mark and Anthony was injured. With Anthony saying he’s committed to playing in New York, who will step in and coach this team, which managed to thump Portland 121-79 and end a six-game losing streak in Woodson’s first game?

Kentucky Coach John Calipari? Jeff Van Gundy (Redux)? Or perhaps ... Phil Jackson, master of all things Zen? Don’t count on that last one, Ian O’Connor writes.

 Phil Jackson is in a league of his own. Will he actually leave retirement for a homecoming job so many people have run away from, including Pat Riley, Rick Pitino, Van Gundy, Don Nelson, Brown and now D'Antoni?
"A coach's toughness is so important in this market," [Dave] Checketts [the former MSG president who tried to hire Jackson in 1999] said, "because we all know it can be pretty miserable for you here if you don't win."
Way back when, Van Gundy declared that the scheming Zen Master “doesn't have the guts to coach in New York.”
Thirteen years later, bet against Phil Jackson having the stomach for the job.

Who does, particularly with the combination of Anthony and Dolan?

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By  |  10:37 AM ET, 03/15/2012

 
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