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Mike D’Antoni says Jeff Bzdelik’s departure had nothing to do with Carmelo Anthony

Mike D'Antoni, Jeff Bzdelik, Carmelo Anthony

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has spoken out about the whole controversy behind the sudden retirement of assistant coach Jeff Bzedlik over the summer. According to the 67-year-old veteran coach, Bzdelik’s abrupt departure had nothing to do with the recent arrival of Carmelo Anthony.

The full story behind Bzdelik’s exit is still currently clouded in mystery. The assistant coach is widely regarded as one of the masterminds behind the Rockets’ shift to a more defensive mindset, and his unexpected retirement after two successful seasons with the team has led to the emergence of several conspiracy theories.

Some believe that he may have been pushed out, or that he may have left because he was no longer in agreement with the direction the Rockets were heading to. Others have proposed that it was related to the recent signing of Anthony, who happened to have a not-so-pleasant history with Bzdelik.

For D’Anotni though, there’s nothing more under the surface, and he believes that Bzedlik’s decision to spend more time with his family should be taken at face value.

“No. No,” D’Antoni told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I’m almost 100 percent sure that’s not right. I’ve talked to him, and we even talked about it during the summer. I mean he likes ‘Melo. He’s like me. You’re fine. It’ll be good, it’d be interesting, it’d be fun. And he and ‘Melo had made up a couple years ago. They were fine, so no.”

Bzdelik served as the head coach of the Nuggets between 2002 and 2005. In 2003, the team selected Anthony third overall in the Draft and effectively handed him the keys to the organization. Bzdelik publicly criticized his star’s lack of defensive proficiency, and as expected, Anthony was not very happy about it. Mid-way through the next season, Bzdelik was fired.

While there certainly may be a link between the recent arrival of Anthony and the sudden exit of Bzdelik, D’Antoni has done his part to try and quell the nasty rumors. Then again, it must be noted that D’Antoni said that he is “almost” certain that these two developments are not connected, so perhaps, there may be more to this than we’re being led to believe.