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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-02

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-02

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-12-02Coach Mike D'Antoni has taken on a great deal of criticism in New York since he left Phoenix to become part of the Knicks' rebuilding plan.

He entered the situation with Donnie Walsh, who had just been named the team's president, understanding that the strategy was to try to dump the load of bad contracts the previous regime had collected with the idea to get as much salary cap space as possible to be major players in what will be a loaded free agency season in 2010.

And even though Walsh and D'Antoni made it clear that sticking to the plan -- read: not compromising cap space in 2010 -- would be the top priority, there is already great unrest among Knicks fans and some in the New York media about sacrificing wins now, with a roster built mainly for their expiring contracts, not to win or, perhaps more important, to fit D'Antoni's run-and-gun system that was so successful with the Suns.

And that confuses Steve Nash.

"I don't think anyone expected them to turn it around last year or this year," Nash said of the Knicks when his Suns came to New York before Tuesday's game. "Everyone starts getting on top of Mike or the system or whatever they do. In reality, if you said to them, 'Are the Knicks going to be any good before the big free agent summer?' I think everyone would've said, 'No, probably not.'

"So I don't know what the big deal is. To me, they're on the same plan, trying to develop young players and trying to wait and see who they can get next summer."

Nash was actually one of those players the Knicks had hoped might be there for them in 2010, which he dubbed "the summer of LeBron." The two-time MVP, who has a close relationship with D'Antoni from their days together in Phoenix, gets this offense better than anyone and, as he's shown this season, still has plenty left in the tank to be successful.

Nash lives in Manhattan during the offseason and admitted he considered the New York angle and reuniting with D'Antoni, but in the end he didn't want to risk the guarantee of an extension with the Suns (which he signed this summer) when there was no guarantee the Knicks would have the cap space -- or even the interest -- in signing him.

But Nash is the standard bearer as the Knicks search this offseason to find the right floor general to run the D'Antoni offense, which, this season, has been shelved because the players don't quite fit the demands (running, passing, shooting) of the style.

Aside from landing LeBron James, who could be featured as a point-forward in the system and then surrounded by shooters and athletic bigs, the Knicks most important task this summer is to find a high-end point guard capable of running this system. There aren't many options via free agency -- aside, perhaps, from restricted free agent Randy Foye -- but with cap space you can also make trades.

Of course, they could have solved that problem by drafting Brandon Jennings with the No. 8 overall pick rather than going with big man project Jordan Hill.

KNICKS 126, SUNS 99: Mike D'Antoni got the better of his former team (which is still running his offense) by attacking its weakest aspect -- interior defense -- as the Knicks scored 71 points in the first half en route to a stunning blowout of the Suns, who entered the game with the NBA's best record. Danilo Gallinari hit six three-pointers for a game-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds along with two blocked shots for the Knicks (4-14), who snapped a five-game losing streak. Steve Nash had 20 points and eight assists for the Suns (14-4), who didn't reach 100 points for the first time this season.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 2, 2009


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