Mike D'Antoni

Report: D’Antoni’s job with Knicks safe. For now at least.


Apparently the Knicks are not planning to end the Mike D’Antoni era any time soon.

Then again, Flip Saunders got a direct vote of confidence from his owner just a couple weeks before the axe fell.

But as of right now, there are no plans to make a move — but D’Antoni’s fate could rest with Baron Davis, reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated. Which should make D’Antoni sick to his stomach.

But sources close to the situation say that D’Antoni is safe for now and the foreseeable future. Owner James Dolan is remaining patient, and D’Antoni, who is in the final year of his contract, will be given an opportunity to make the most of the Baron Davis experiment that is about to begin.

There are two schools of thought on D’Antoni. But both begin with one basic, indisputable fact — he has not been given the players to run his system. Knicks brass has traded away every decent point guard they had and saddled him with prolific but inefficient scorers like Carmelo Anthony.

One school of thought is that D’Antoni should adjust his system to the talent he has been given. We will call this the “most Knicks fans school of thought.” Especially those that want his head. Their argument is you coach what you are given and he should stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes, or ‘Melo into a point forward role. Those fans are ready for the Phil Jackson era (which is another story…).

The other school is the “you can’t blame the guy when you didn’t give him the right parts” theory. This is my school of thought. This would have been like the NFL’s Buccaneers hiring Chip Kelly out of Oregon then giving him some run-blocking offensive linemen and straight ahead runners but no quarterback of note. (Which would have been a very Tampa Bay thing to do.) You hire Kelly because of his system, you have to give him the pieces to make it work. You hired D’Antoni because of his success running “seven seconds or less” so give him players that fit the system, not inefficient ball stoppers.

Either way, clearly D’Antoni’s seat is getting hot. Baron Davis is not going to be the answer (he’s an answer, better than what they have, but not the answer). Whether or not he survives this season, and whether or not they bring him back next year, this is on the Knicks front office and owner James Dolan, not D’Antoni.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.