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Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

D’Antoni to become Knicks’ new coach

Mike D'Antoni directs his Phoenix Suns team in this 2007 photo. D'Antoni has agreed to become coach of the New York Knicks.

Mike D'Antoni directs his Phoenix Suns team in this 2007 photo. D'Antoni has agreed to become coach of the New York Knicks.

May 11, 2008

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— Mike D'Antoni has agreed to coach the New York Knicks, bringing his entertaining offensive style from the Phoenix Suns to a team coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

The Knicks released a statement Saturday night saying they had agreed in principle with D'Antoni and that a press conference would be held once the contract had been completed.

D'Antoni had two years and $8.5 million left on his Phoenix contract. Suns owner Robert Sarver wouldn't confirm that D'Antoni had taken the New York job earlier Saturday, but said, "Mike called me this morning to thank me, so I figured this was up."

The offer is reportedly for $24 million over four years, making him one of the NBA's highest-paid coaches. The Chicago Bulls also interviewed D'Antoni for their coaching job.

D'Antoni replaces Isiah Thomas, who was fired in April after the Knicks went 23-59, tying the franchise record for losses in a season. D'Antoni will become the Knicks' sixth different coach since the start of the 2002-03 season.

The 57-year-old D'Antoni led the Suns to a 55-27 record last season and was coach of the year in 2005. He had a 232-96 regular-season record the past four years, but the Suns were eliminated in the first round by San Antonio last month. The Suns then gave D'Antoni permission to pursue other openings.

New Knicks president Donnie Walsh had been looking for a coach since removing Thomas on April 18. Walsh previously met with former Knicks guard and television analyst Mark Jackson and Knicks assistant Herb Williams. But Walsh took his time to see what coaches would become available during the postseason.

He found one who won at least 54 games each of the last four seasons.

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