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Stoudemire: Knicks Didn’t All Buy Into D’Antoni’s System; Lin ‘Very Emotional’

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Knicks fans may one day look back and mark March 14, 2012, as the official end of Linsanity.

Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun version of it, at least.

D’Antoni waited nearly four years before he could re-create the high-octane success he had in Phoenix, and for three exhilarating weeks in February, the New York Knicks were the NBA’s team to watch.

They played fast and fun, sharing the ball and sharing laughs, and their coach enjoyed the ride as much as anyone.

Just as quickly, it was gone again. And now, so too is D’Antoni, a casualty of the forces generated by a mercurial owner perpetually rebuilding the roster, the caprice of a star player and the heightened expectations of a fan base desperate for a winner.

He resigned Wednesday, a stunning finish for a coach who only a month earlier seemed rejuvenated by Jeremy Lin.

“Nobody saw it coming,” said Carmelo Anthony, the star who was sidelined when Lin emerged and seemed unlikely to ever mesh with him the way D’Antoni wanted after he returned.

That meant Linsanity couldn’t last, and D’Antoni may have realized it first.

“Obviously, I miss him a lot,” Lin said after the Knicks’ 121-79 victory over Portland under interim coach Mike Woodson. “What he did for me and my career, I’m not going to forget. I’m not going to forget what he did for me personally. Just very emotional and sad to see him go. I owe a lot to him.”

Despite D’Antoni’s resignation, Lin will continue to stay in touch with his former head coach “for a long time.”

The point guard tweeted late Wednesday night: “A huge thank you to coach (D’Antoni) for everything he did for the team and me!! Truly a class act who will be missed!”

Lin had come from the end of the bench to play so well that D’Antoni would compare him to Suns star Steve Nash, who ran his wide-open offense better than anyone. The undrafted Harvard point guard outplayed Kobe Bryant one night, toppled the champion Dallas Mavericks another, and D’Antoni had that feeling again that his team could outscore anyone.

“You know what, I think at that point in time we started to play well and he started to build on that offense,” forward Amare Stoudemire said.

The Knicks won seven straight, leading newscasts on a nightly basis for the first time in memory.

But D’Antoni also had the same fear as many fans. He knew Anthony would soon be back from injury, and his vision of beautiful basketball would stop.

And when that happened, followed by reports of the friction it created between the coach and star, D’Antoni decided it was time to walk away.

“He had a certain ideal of a system we were supposed to implement,” said Stoudemire, who also played for D’Antoni in Phoenix. “We all didn’t quite buy into it, and he got frustrated and I think that’s why he took his way out.”

His departure may have been hardest on Lin, who was barely hanging on to an NBA job before D’Antoni’s schemes catapulted him onto two straight Sports Illustrated covers and TV screens around the world.

“I was surprised,” said Lin. “I know some people were talking about it and whatnot, but I didn’t know the reality of it.”

Minutes after he spoke, it was clear the same affection didn’t exist between D’Antoni and Anthony.

D’Antoni communicated with some players via phone or text message Wednesday afternoon, but Anthony said he hadn’t talked to him since a brief conversation when D’Antoni ran the Knicks’ morning workout. He acknowledged the sacrifice it took for him to play in D’Antoni’s system, where he didn’t get the ball as much as he wanted, but denied having any role in the coach’s resignation.

“I didn’t have anything to do with that. That was Coach’s decision,” Anthony said. “I really don’t know where his mindset was at, what he thought, what he was thinking as far as his decision to step down. So anything about me and Mike, you guys who probably know Mike personally, anything like that, he will tell you we never had any issues. Any disagreements that he had with us as a team, we talked it out and went from there.”

D’Antoni was a coaching star in Phoenix, averaging 58 wins in four full years. He got a big contract to come to the big city, but rarely much chance to compete. He sat through two years of rebuilding and too many trades that halted momentum while failing to deliver the type of roster he craved, and interim general manager Glen Grunwald admitted D’Antoni had a “rough go of it” in New York.

Still, the Knicks went 42-40 last season to make the playoffs with their first winning record in a decade, and they were a basketball story again after years of mostly being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during Isiah Thomas’ tenure.

D’Antoni relished being relevant again, his easygoing personality and quick wit returning as the success of Lin and the team brought more media attention. He joked one day after meeting with the large Asian contingent that came to cover the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent that he felt like he was opening for the Beatles.

But with the Knicks mired in a six-game losing streak, his final days brought back the way it was before his arrival. Anthony wanted a trade and D’Antoni had lost the support of players, according to two of the stories based on anonymous sources that appeared Wednesday morning.

Perhaps that’s when D’Antoni made his decision. He wasn’t able to turn the Knicks into a regular winner again and seemed unlikely to return anyway, with his $24 million, four-year contract set to expire this summer.

“I think in life there are times where change could be for the better,” Anthony said. “This is an unfortunate situation for Coach Mike, but sometimes something will just spark off for guys to wake up and say, ‘OK, something is real right here and we got to change.’ Obviously, I’m not speaking for Coach, but that’s how he felt. He stepped down for the sake of the team. He felt like the team needed change and he did that. I wish it was under better circumstances, but at this point it is what it is.”

Do you think Linsanity officially ended with the exit of MDA? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • john

    The Knicks haven’t been good for a long time. When the coach cannot get the players to adopt to his system, he might as well leave. If the coach cannot adopt his coaching to the players skills and abilities, he might as well leave.

    If the star players are so selfish that their playing style is more important than the team and winning, the franchise is ruined. I don’t know what is wrong with the Knicks, but something is rotten in the state of New York. Knicks fan since the days of Carl Braun and Richie Guerin.

    • SDSmith

      Yes john, some things are rotten in my state. Regarding my Knicks, however, James Dolan needs to hear, understand, and exercise some divine wisdom that would get the Knicks to “dynasty status”. As a spiritually minded person, I’m not a big promoter on “common sense”, but, to take the reigns from a man who’s cleaned up the mess that another has made and not give him an extension, is unwise, to say the least.



  • BobbyB

    I think its hilarious that Knicks fans are piling on Melo and acting as if Lin is an all-time great!!! Yes Lin had a great 10 games and yes the offense didn’t mesh with Melo back in the mix, BUT you can’t deny that Lin couldn’t stop anyone! And Lin’s lack of defense had nothing to do with Melo. Look at the 3s that were dropped by Deron Williams, Rondo, Lou Williams, Jennings, and Tony Parker. I think Lin will be a nice player but 10 games do not make a superstar.

  • Dr Knicks

    Melo is a cancer. We have Linsanity. We have Novak-aine (I prefer Super Novak). Now we have Melo-noma.

    • Mateus

      hahahaha. U said it all man, Melo-noma!

  • hughless

    I will have Linsanity for the rest of my life. He is someone that I can cheer for whereever he is. I will enjoy following his future. He is GOOD and can help any team be better. He has been discovered at last and will be OK. He’s my favorite basketball player and I have been involved in baketball for 57 years since I was ten years old. GO KNICKS. I will continue to be a fan even though I live in Orlando.

  • Desi

    The Knick are back to being a group and we need to remember, A group only becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others. I do not see this in Melo. He only praises himself.

    • Clyde & The Pearl

      The knicks were GREAT!!! under coach Red Holzman, Good under Pat Riley, and fairly good under Rick Pitino. Under Red Holzman many new players joined in and out, however, blended right in with Holzman’s Knicks style of play. Under Pat Riley it was show time to NYC, and under Pitino it was college styles of plays but it worked. Since then, I stopped watching the NY knicks play basketball.

  • Tommy

    Remember the movie White Men Can’t Jump? Melo is a classic example of what Woddy Harrelson said to Wesley Snipes in one scene on the court – “He would rather look good and lose than look bad and win.”

    • SANTI


  • Ex Knicks Fan

    Coach D was the best thing to happen to the Knicks franchise in Years! His system was exciting and fun to watch. The problem with the Knicks is the impatient and dumb fan-base. At the end they were chanting to have coach D fired. I hope they learn there lesson now. I am no longer a Knicks fan. Next year I will root for what ever team coach D takes over. Carmelo is another marbury. He has all the skills but cant win with any team.

  • rocker90

    It seems like people are making this a biased thing by saying end of Linsanity

  • John

    Hasn’t been the same since Patrick left… While Ewing never brought us a championship (roadblock that was MJ), we did have many exciting years of basketball. It just seems like so long ago

  • Beverly Hills

    The Knicks have turned into a sad story. Linsanity was the toast of New York. Melo may get huge stats…..make a lot of money…..but he’ll never get a ring. Never!!! No team chasing the championsip will want him. They see his track record.

    • JAREME


      MELO AND OTHERS THINK HELL IF HE CAN DO IT….THEN I CAN DO IT MENTALITY….WELL THE TEAM….MELO, AMARE, AND OTHERS HAD A LOT OF OPPURTUNITIES…Not like how LIN was doing when he was controlling the game. Now everyone wants to control the game…..and thats why everyone looks confused except lin….who continues to pass and assist.

  • bobbyveee99

    melo needs to go he is a cancer

    • rich

      well said – oh yeah i said that in my post. way to go bobbyveee99. i’d love to hear fans chant cancer everytime mello touches the ball.

  • RJ

    Carmello is not a team player. He was jealous of Lin’s fame and that is why he wanted to control the ball from now on. He needs to go. The coach was doing great until he came back.

  • New Knick Fan

    Dolan and Comapny, trade Carmelo before the trading deadline is over. Knicks will win without Carmelo!

    • Dom

      You’d have to pay another team to take him, and throw in Shumpert and Fields. He wouldn’t exactly be in high demand.

      • wil1graham

        You guys are crazy … Lin was being eaten up by to points … and Coach had no answers.

  • Dom

    Not enough continuity on the Knicks. They’ve gone through multiple coaches and tons of players over the past 10 years. They’re like a revolving door franchise.

  • rich

    linsanity is over. that malcontent mello will make sure of that. the good times at msg could be over again. mello is a cancer for this team. it was so nice to see them play like a team and see everyone getting involved and playing great defense at times. red holtzman was at least pround for about 10 games like i said while the malcontent mello was sidelined hurt.

  • rich

    why is my last post not posting?

  • George

    Linsanity is over only becasue of the return of Carmelo. If you get rid of Carmelo, Linsanity will return. Carmelo is not known for wiinning basketball. Carmelo has a clear track record (ugly and losing basketball).

    • nyknicks89


    • blic

      unfortunatley d’an-sanity is gone.

      woodson is too melo.’

      • Underdog

        Linsanity is not dead but in slumber… if Melo goes back to his losing streak Woody or Melos head wil be next to roll in 1 month’s time … no more scrape goat< Put Lin to the bench and see how things can change in a month… then we will know if iso-Melo can save his own butt or not.

    • wil1graham

      Lin is a good story but he has holes in his game … top point guards were shredding him. The Knicks did not spent 200 million to have Fields and Lin shooting as much as STAT and Melo

      • kichiguy

        Duh! Let’s not forget that Lin was a bench warmer and didn’t get a chance to play with top point guards until D’antoni gave him a chance. Of course beginners are gonna get beat-up on the inexperienced new kid. How he was able to win 7 games straight adapting to D’antoni’s play style means this kid is versatile and adaptable to the game. Unfortunately, Lin is not gonna have the chance with the Knicks so we’re gonna have to wait a long time til he starts to shine again, hopefully by that time he’ll have buffed up from being a scrawny baller.

      • NickC

        Exactly right. NY has built a team around Melo and Stat with Tyson Chandler in the middle. I’m fed up of seeing Lin shoot 30 percent from the field, have six turnovers and not play defense. It is a wasted possession if Fields/Lin are taking contested jumpshots or driving through a crowd of players. All the the Knicks need to work on is rebounding the ball and defense.

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