NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni resigned Wednesday as coach of the New York Knicks, whose brief resurgence in a wave of Linsanity quickly gave way to a late-season skid that puts them in danger of even making the NBA playoffs.
Assistant coach Mike Woodson was named interim head coach starting with Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Knicks owner Jim Dolan said he and D’Antoni had a “very honest” conversation Wednesday morning.
“He clearly felt it was best for the organization if he were not to continue as coach of the team. He did offer to stay,” Dolan said during a news conference. “After a long discussion, we did agree it was best for the organization to have new voice moving forward.”
Facing a barrage of questions about his relationship with Carmelo Anthony, D’Antoni put the Knicks through a morning workout before stepping aside. The Knicks have struggled since Anthony returned from a groin injury 10 games ago, losing six in a row for the second time this season and falling into a tie for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
There was speculation that he and D’Antoni did not get along, though the All-Star forward said Wednesday he supported the coach “100 percent.”
There’s already speculation that the Knicks will try to lure a big-name coach such as Phil Jackson or Kentucky’s John Calipari next season.
But Dolan insisted the Knicks can still contend this season.
“I believe in our players. I believe in our talent. I believe in their commitment to get the team together and get this right,” he said. “I believe we have the talent and character to succeed.”