How the Blazers potential hiring of Mike D’Antoni can impact the Knicks

Mike D'Antoni. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mike D'Antoni. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Carmelo Anthony, Knicks. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Could D’Antoni Force Carmelo Anthony Back to the Knicks?

Mike D’Antoni and Carmelo Anthony have an interesting history, to say the least.

Here’s a brief rundown for those not informed: D’Antoni coached Anthony in the early days of the latter’s tenure in New York. It didn’t go too well, as this was the beginning of the feud that NBA fans have come to learn existed between the two.

D’Antoni’s system needs a facilitator that does most of the ball handling. Anthony isn’t known for his passing and is isolation-heavy. Anthony also loves the midrange. D’Antoni demands outside shooting and looks at the rim. These two were polar opposites. The team was lacking despite high expectations, so D’Antoni resigned in 2012. The Knicks moved on with the all-star forward as the franchise’s cornerstone.

Six years later, coming off his worst season as a pro, Anthony joined buddy Chris Paul and superstar James Harden to play for the Houston Rockets. D’Antoni was Houston’s coach, and downplayed his gripe with Anthony.

Carmelo also said he didn’t expect their time in New York to be an issue. Just 10 games into the 2018-19 season, Anthony was released by the organization. D’Antoni clearly didn’t feel Anthony was someone who can contribute to his system positively at this stage of his career since he did nothing to try to keep him on the roster.

This was the beginning of a year-long hiatus from the NBA for ‘Melo. From November 2018 to November 2019, no team was interested in signing him, until the Blazers came along.

Anthony has had an impressive comeback in his time in Portland. He just finished his second full season with the team, where he has provided many buckets and clutch performances off the bench. Anthony will be a free agent this offseason.

With him about to hit the open market, Anthony will have to way his options just like his latest employer will. If Lillard wants out, or if Portland makes the decision to blow up the team, Anthony too will likely ditch Portland in search of a ring. And if D’Antoni is hired, you can bet the house on him not wanting to stick around. Portland has embraced Anthony’s play style. Even though he has become a much better team player, I don’t think Anthony would sacrifice any more touches just yet, especially with D’Antoni asking that of him.

Ever since his trade to Oklahoma City, Knicks fans have pondered about what seems to be Anthony’s inevitable return to Madison Square Garden. While they aren’t contending yet, it wouldn’t be a surprise if ‘Melo chose to play out his final years back in NYC. He is still a piece valuable enough to contribute to winning basketball. He is a good teammate, a leader by example, a veteran presence, and still a bucket. The Knicks can definitely use scoring, so maybe D’Antoni can lead him running back into the New York Knicks’ open arms.

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