D'Antoni's tenure in Phoenix over
D'Antoni deferred questions about his job status after the Suns were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.
"I'm just really proud of my guys," D'Antoni said after the Spurs' 92-87 win that marked the third time in four years that San Antonio has ended the Suns' season.
D'Antoni did not address his own situation. But sources within the organization confirm that D'Antoni feels he does not have the backing of upper management --specifically owner
The Suns have long been one of the NBA's model franchises, and both D'Antoni and Kerr, for whatever differences they might have about the direction of the team, are respected around the league. It's hard to believe, then, that D'Antoni's situation would devolve into an ugly, protracted war, New York Knicks style.
How exactly the scenario unfolds depends largely on whether D'Antoni gets another job offer. The most palatable scenario for all in Phoenix would be this: Team A asks the Suns for permission to talk to D'Antoni, who has two years left on his contract; Suns say OK; D'Antoni interviews and is hired.
One landing spot for him would seem to be Chicago, where general manager
One other possibility is New York, where new president
As is the custom with all NBA teams, D'Antoni will meet soon with Sarver and Kerr, together or separately. Kerr said before Sunday's Game 4, which turned out to be the Suns' lone series win, that D'Antoni's departure was not a
D'Antoni, sources say, believes that the situation has been festering all season and that nothing would be accomplished in the meeting. Whatever the circumstances of his departure, it will probably be presented as as a rift between coach and GM, and to a large extent that's true. But when Colangelo left for Toronto, mostly because he and Sarver were doomed not to coexist harmoniously, D'Antoni lost his biggest booster in the front office, as well as a friend. It's what happens in the NBA and in all pro sports.
Over four full seasons D'Antoni racked up a 232-96 record, made the Western finals twice and changed the way that observers both in and out of the league thought about the game. Management might have some legitimate gripes about his defensive coaching, and remember that D'Antoni was a bigger booster of the trade for
But Suns management now faces one extremely formidable challenge in