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Mike D’Antoni describes past stint with Carmelo Anthony a ‘styles clash, never a blow-up’

Carmelo Anthony, Mike D'Antoni

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni still remembers his days with the New York Knicks and star Carmelo Anthony, but not with bitterness, but rather a more mature approach to the circumstances and the nature of their partnership.

The 67-year-old coach explained to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports how different things were in The Big Apple, with growing expectations of a championship.

“Well, at different points of people’s careers or lives or circumstances, things are different,” D’Antoni said. “In New York, when they gave away half the team (to Denver in the February 2011 trade that brought Anthony to the Knicks) and everybody expected us to win a championship, it really wasn’t realistic. It put a lot of pressure on everybody, and it kind of burst the pipes. I think this is totally different. We’ve got a team that is a whole bunch of veterans that really, we’ve got one thing in mind, and that’s to win a championship, and we have the possibility. We never had a blow-up before, so it’s not he wanted to play a certain way and I kind of wanted to coach another way.”

D’Antoni infamously left after Anthony had given Knicks management an ultimatum, to either keep him or his coach. The coach took the lead and made the Knicks’ decision for them, knowing he was more likely to be expendable as a coach than their lauded perennial star.

“Back then, there wasn’t even analytics. I was going by my gut, and he was going by (his) gut, and it’s just, you know, styles clash,” D’Antoni continued. “And I think now, things have changed and everybody is playing the same way. I think it’s a lot better fit and I think we have a really good chance to be really good.”

The Rockets have a team built to contend for a championship as it is, and they hope Anthony will be the missing piece to make those dreams come true. As it sits, it’s still unknown if Anthony will start or come off the bench, but he’s been open to either role.