The addition of Tyson Chandler was supposed to make the Knicks a championship contender. But after a 7-12 start, Knicks fans are calling for the subtraction of Mike D’Antoni, whose club has dropped eight of its last nine games.
The call to replace D’Antoni grows louder with every loss. The fans want owner James Dolan to entice Phil Jackson to come out of retirement to coach his former team.
Jackson was a supersub for Knicks coach Red Holtzman when New York won its only two championships in 1970 and 1973. He coached Michael Jordan and the Bulls to six NBA titles in nine years, then moved on to Los Angeles, where he guided Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to five more championships.
It’s easy to see why Knicks fans are drooling at the opportunity to have Jackson coach their club. First, though, D’Antoni’s got to go.
Better be careful what you wish for, Knicks fans. Dolan is a stubborn man. Jackson may have no interest in starting over in New York, leaving Dolan an opening to replace D’Antoni with someone else. Someone like Isiah Thomas, for instance, and I don’t think there’s a Knicks fan alive who wants to revisit that mess again.
So, in the meantime, Dolan will do what he does best. He will wait.
I expect D’Antoni, who is in the last year of his contract, will get a chance to turn around his team. Baron Davis, who hasn’t played because of a back injury, is practicing again, preparing to make his Madison Square Garden debut at point guard soon.
The Knicks need something. Superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire seem lost since Chauncey Billups was shown the door in order to make room for Chandler. No one they’ve tried at point guard has been able to get them the ball at the right time and place on the court. Soon, Davis will get his turn.
D’Antoni’s job is riding on the veteran point guard’s ability to shake off this latest injury and bring the team together. If Davis can’t do it, D’Antoni won’t survive.
And Phil Jackson may be waiting in the wings. … Or is it Isiah Thomas?