Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum is reporting that Suns coach Mike D’Antoni son’t be coming back after last night’s elimination at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of their first round series. The question is really now over whether D’Antoni will be offered a job by another team and accept or whether GM Steve Kerr and owner Robert Sarver will have to buy him out.
After last year’s loss to the Spurs in the conference semifinals and the hiring of Kerr as GM, this writing may have been on the wall — but it became especially clear after the trade for Shaquille O’Neal that the Pornstache was on borrowed time. If he won, he had a better shot, but when we’re talking philosophical defenses — and the biggest one being about coaching team defense, which isn’t the biggest aspect of his philosophy, it’s not a surprise that he won’t be back on the Phoenix sidelines next season.
He will find work, that’s for sure: in a league where some teams are still trying to emulate the up-tempo style he favors (complete with a focus on out-scoring the opponent rather than shutting them down defensively), he won’t be hurting for a job. D’Antoni’s offensive style meshed with Steve Nash’s particular skills and that of a supporting cast involving Amare Stoudemire, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and others to provide a form of ball that was exciting, if occasionally infuriating.
Just don’t ever expect him to win a title with his philosophy. Mike D’Antoni may be one of those coaches who will never touch the Larry O’Brien trophy — and no one will be surprised. You hate to lean on hoary cliches like “defensive wins championships,” but the reason there are hoary cliches like that is because they’re true.
D’Antoni’s tenure in Phoenix over [Sports Illustrated]