“We had a lot of changes, and a short season and all that stuff about the lockout, so it was a tough, tough thing to have a coach deal with all that over the course of four years,” Grunwald said.
New York finished in the top 10 in scoring in each of D'Antoni’s first three seasons while racking up the three highest 3-pointer totals in team history. But his offense-first style was never a natural fit in New York, where fans craved the hard-nosed, defense-first approach of the 1990s teams of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason and John Starks. Worse for D'Antoni, he lost his biggest backer in the front office when team president Donnie Walsh opted not to return after last season.
He seemed to have the Knicks on the rise last season after landing Stoudemire. But the Knicks didn’t stop there, trading four of their top six players to acquire Anthony from Denver last February before the trade deadline.
The high price, paid when Dolan reportedly overruled Walsh, put enormous pressure on D'Antoni and Anthony to make it work, and they never really could. Anthony was shooting a career-low 40 percent and at times his frustration was evident. It was after Monday’s loss in Chicago.
“The season is not over and this team can still be the team that our fans hope it can be,” he said.
AP Sports Writer Colin Fly in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.