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Old 06-02-2011, 04:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Triano out as Raptors coach

Source: Donnie Walsh questions if Mike D'Antoni is right for Knicks; coach could bolt for Toronto

MIAMI - Donnie Walsh has never said he is looking to make a coaching move, but perhaps Mike D'Antoni will make one for him.

D'Antoni, entering the final year of his contract as Knicks coach, could emerge as a candidate in Toronto, where the Raptors announced Wednesday that coach Jay Triano will not return.

Toronto president Bryan Colangelo has a good history with D'Antoni from their time with the Phoenix Suns. Colangelo hired D'Antoni and together they transformed the Suns into one of the NBA's most successful and entertaining teams.

"I believe that bringing in a new voice as head coach will accelerate the progress we are looking to make in the coming years," Colangelo said in a release Wednesday.

Coincidentally, the one knock on D'Antoni's teams is that they don't focus enough on defense. During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Colangelo said he wanted an experienced coach and one with a "defensive-minded" perspective.

Jeff Van Gundy would be an obvious choice but the former Knicks coach and current ABC/ESPN analyst is happy in his current role. According to a source, Van Gundy wants to wait at least another year before he returns to coaching.

As of Wednesday, Colangelo had not asked the Knicks for permission to speak with D'Antoni, who is hoping to remain in the New York area until his son graduates high school in two years.

However, the Knicks have given no indication that they are open to negotiating a new deal with D'Antoni. Sources close to Walsh claim that the team president has privately questioned whether D'Antoni's system is the right fit for the Knicks.

Walsh's most successful clubs with the Indiana Pacers were good halfcourt teams, both offensively and defensively. The News reported in April that Walsh may insist that D'Antoni revamp his staff to hire an assistant coach in charge of defense. In the past, D'Antoni has been reluctant to make such a hire. In Phoenix, he refused Steve Kerr's request to make current Bulls head man Tom Thibodeau his defensive coach.

After losing at least 50 games in his first two seasons, D'Antoni guided the Knicks to a 42-40 record this year. It was their first winning season in 10 years. However, the Knicks were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs and several veteran players began to question the coach.

The pending lockout suggests that D'Antoni will remain in New York for at least one more year. Also, Walsh may feel obligated to give D'Antoni a full training camp to prove what he can do with Amar'e Stoudemire and late-season pickups Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.

Should D'Antoni leave for another job or get fired, there are viable candidates available to replace him, including Rick Adelman, Lawrence Frank and Mark Jackson, who is a finalist for the Golden State job. There is also a report that the Knicks may pursue

Kentucky coach John Calipari, who is represented by CAA, the same agency that represents Anthony and Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who can become a free agent in 13 months. 4g

I am 99.9% sure he will stay in New York but there are still that 0.1% of hope left.
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