Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni spoke with 1050 ESPN’s Brandon Tierney and Jody McDonald. Here’s a quick recap of what he said:
On how they plan to lure free agents:
‘We’re going to show him what we have, what we have to offer, what New York has to offer and show him how we’re going to try and build a championship team and convince him this is the place he wants to be.”
“We’re going to show him how we’re going to win a championship and I believe the free agents will listen to it and if they believe we have a good play hopefully they will sign on”
“We have a unique opportunity. When Donnie came on, that’s what he laid out a few years ago. We would go through some tough sledding for two years and then come out the other side with space for at least one max player, if not two. We kinda lucked out a little bit and now have the opportunity to get two max players”
“They just want to see where they can come and have fun and win. They want to win a championship and that’s what it should be all about and what we’re going to show (them).”
What he’s doing now while waiting for July 1:
“The biggest thing we’re doing right now is developing the few guys that we have, everyday. And I’m really enthused about Billy Walker, Toney Douglas, Wilson Chandler, Danilo, Eddie Curry. All these guys have really bought into what we’re trying to do and we’ve spent a good month and a half with them”
Can Eddie Curry fit in this offense:
“He can definitely function. He’s tailor made for it. He’ll be perfect. He’s the low post threat that every offense needs. He’ll battle the bigger guys…He’s finally injury free right now. He’s getting his weight under control and he has a big year coming up, both personally and for the Knicks. We’ll push him as hard as we can and see what happens. But all these guys have to make a jump up in what they produce on the floor. So far they’re buying in totally and I’m really excited about (them)”
On the report Curry told Lebron to go to Chicago:
“I’m too close to the deadline to say anything about anything. This is a big year coming up for Eddie. We’ve finally got him injury free and he feels good about himself
On the change in Knick philosophy:
….from now on everything is going to be done to win. The last few years we tried to do everything we could do to get under the cap and that meant sacrificing the team sometimes, taking some people you didn’t want to do or trades you didn’t want to do. We had that plan and we stuck with it….Now everything is to build a winner and (if) you’re on board- great. If not, we’re going to go towards the goal that we set out.
“We just have to play better defense and that comes down to individual effort and individuals that are strong enough, big enough, long enough, (and) athletic enough to get it done.”
If things don’t work out July 1, will he regret taking Knick job?
“No. This is a unique challenge and a unique place and we have an opportunity. Now, we’re not going to strike out. That’s not going to happen. We may hit a single or a double; we’re going for the homerun. We’re going to get the bat on the ball, I guarantee ya.”
On David Lee’s return (or not):
“That’s the tricky part, the timing and the finances and all that, not on his ability. David has made an unbelievable amount of improvement the last couple of years. He’s become a very viable, very good basketball player. He has to be surrounded by a certain type of player. He’s played at center, that’s out of position. He’s not long enough to guard the basket. We’re asking him to do things that wasn’t fair to him. Now, he was an all star anyway. He’s improved his game. If we can get the team right, I would love to have David. Mathematically, timing, there’s a lot of things that would have to happen. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen. But he’s going to make someone a really good basketball player and hopefully it’s the Knicks, but we’ll just see how things go.
On NBA Draft:
“Right now scouts are going through and rating the players and putting them in a type of order. There (are) some guys that I do like, I don’t know if they’ll be there at 38 or 39…To be honest with you, my whole focus is, if you notice my contract ends in two years, so I’m mostly into free agency groups….Second rounder’s, find me something nice, great and we’ll develop them but if I don’t get it done on July first, I may be developing them for another coach. We gotta get this thing done another way, but I’ll be interested and I’ll put my two sense in with these players and hopefully we can come up with someone who was overlooked or maybe we can fix the hole in his game.”
Will the reports of him not getting along with veterans hurt the free agent push:
“It could have and I’m sure anyone who doesn’t want a player to come to NY will use that, which we would if I was on the other side….There was a core group of guys that I had to take care of. Gallo was going to play no matter what… Wilson Chandler was going to develop. I had to get Toney Douglas in there at a certain point and then try to win games also. New York is not the nicest place to be if you’re loosing and you try to balance all that and sometimes it doesn’t work out……..I tried to be honest with them and it came out a lot of times that I didn’t talk to them and I find that a little dismay but that’s ok….I’ve been ticked off at coaches. But we tried to do the best we could do to hold them together. You know, sometimes you come to a fork in the road and you say, well I’m going to go with this player and it might not be the right choice. We had a lot of forks in the road because there was nothing real clear about which way to go and hopefully July 1st we’re going to clear it up.
Does he worry about jealousy between free agents?
“Hopefully we’re dealing with guys that, bottom line, want to win. You want guys who know what’s going on. You get guys worrying about other things and they’re not champions anyway”
On why Whoopi Goldberg is being used to lure Lebron:
“You didn’t see sister act?”
- It’s impossible not to like Mike D’Antoni after listening to him speak for five minutes. Say what you want about his in-game coaching or the general effectiveness of his offensive system, but he is one likable cat.
- David Lee isn’t coming back. I have no inside info, whatsoever, but based on the reports that Lee is plan T on the 2010 to-do list and the round-about quote that D’Antoni gave about him, it seams unlikely that he’ll be in Knick colors in 2010.
- I don’t think D’Antoni’s “wake-me-when-its-over” approach to the draft is representative of the entire organization. Marc Berman of the NY Post reported today that the team is interested in trading up to draft Nevada point guard Armon Johnson. Johnson averaged 15.7 points a game and 5.6 assists a game.
- I wonder if his praise of Eddie Curry is a direct result of reports that Curry is discouraging Lebron from coming to New York. Maybe the logic is “if I pretend to like Eddie, maybe he’ll lay off all that ‘don’t touch NY’ junk”….or maybe D’Antoni actually believes this. Which, by the way, is ridiculous.
– Mike’s right, Sister Act is a great movie
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1