Mike D’Antoni quit the Knicks because of Carmelo Anthony
Yet their turbulent past is more than just a sour note in his career, as Anthony had given the New York Knicks an ultimatum in 2012 — it was either him or D’Antoni, noting that he’d want to be traded if the front office chose to bring back D’Antoni for the next season.
D’Antoni made matters rather easy for the Knicks.
“I just went in and quit,” he told Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine in May, 2017.
“Don’t say ‘quit,'” [his wife] Laurel said. “I hate that word. You resigned. You walked away. Mutually walked away.”
D’Antoni rolled his eyes, turning to Keown to re-assess his stance.
“I quit,” he said.
This ultimatum was a result of Anthony growing infuriated with the offensive genius handing the keys to Jeremy Lin, who flourished under a fast-paced tempo that brought win after win, creating the now-remembered Linsanity phenomenon in The Big Apple, taking the spotlight away from Anthony.
D’Antoni likely knew player-versus-coach is a battle to lose and packed his bags as soon as he caught wind of the situation Anthony had just put the front office in, making the decision for him.
Six years later, it is Anthony who is begging to land with the Rockets, but it is D’Antoni who now holds the power to call the shots — likely to ask him to come off the bench as the second unit’s lead scorer.
It’s yet to be seen if the perennial 20-point scorer will accept this role, having just rejected it in OKC — but if he does, these two men will have no choice but to let bygones be bygones — joined by the same quest.