Mike D'Antoni resigned as New York Knicks coach, after a seasonlong struggle to find common ground with superstar forward Carmelo Anthony.
NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni resigned Wednesday as New York Knicks coach, after a seasonlong struggle to find common ground with superstar forward Carmelo Anthony.
D’Antoni, 60, made the decision official in a meeting Wednesday afternoon with James L. Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman, and Glen Grunwald, interim general manager.
Mike Woodson, who joined the coaching staff last summer — and was viewed as the emergency replacement, if necessary — coached the Knicks to a 121-79 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Woodson, 53, previously coached the Atlanta Hawks.
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Two D’Antoni assistants, his brother Dan and Phil Weber, are also resigning.
A person with close ties to Mike D’Antoni said D’Antoni initiated Wednesday’s meeting with Dolan and that the decision to step down “was absolutely Mike’s.”
Knicks players were said to be stunned and disappointed. Although Anthony has been frustrated by D’Antoni’s system, the vast majority of the locker room supported the coach. He had the strong backing of Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Jeremy Lin, Jared Jeffries and Landry Fields, the core of the team.
Entering Wednesday, the Knicks had lost six straight games, jeopardizing their playoff standing and erasing the gains made in an 8-1 stretch last month, when Lin revived D’Antoni’s offense.
D’Antoni has been working, unsuccessfully, to get Anthony to mesh his considerable talents with an offensive system predicated on ball movement. Anthony prefers to score in isolation sets — the antithesis of D’Antoni’s approach — and has frequently broken plays to create shots for himself.
The tension between Anthony and D’Antoni — and more broadly, between Anthony and the rest of the team — was undermining the Knicks’ cohesion and morale. Most players preferred to keep playing the way they were during the so-called Linsanity streak in February, when Lin was initiating the offense.
Portland, which has lost four of five, lost 92-75 Tuesday in Indiana.
The Blazers played without guard Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle who has been linked to trade rumors ahead of the Thursday deadline. Minnesota reportedly is interested in acquiring Crawford, 31.
Wilcox to have
BOSTON — Boston Celtics forward-center Chris Wilcox is scheduled to have surgery for an enlarged aorta and will miss the rest of the season.
Team officials announced the surgery should allow him to resume his career next season.
The operation is scheduled for March 29 at Cleveland Clinic — where Celtics forward Jeff Green had season-ending surgery for an aortic aneurysm Jan. 9. Doctors have said Green also should be able to play next season.
Wilcox, 29, and Green, 25, are former Sonics.
Bulls beat Heat
CHICAGO — John Lucas III scored 24 points and the league-leading Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 106-102 despite playing without guard Derrick Rose in a charged showdown between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.
The Bulls led by 17 points in the third quarter, but Miami was down two in the last minute. Chicago held on for its 11th victory in 12 games.
The Bulls won without superstar Rose on a night when Dwyane Wade scored 36 points and LeBron James finished with 35 for Miami.
• Host San Antonio beat the Orlando Magic 122-111. Before the game, Magic center Dwight Howard declared he will not surrender his right to become a free agent this summer. Orlando officials had looked for assurances they can re-sign one of the league’s elite big men.
If the Magic doesn’t trade Howard on Thursday, it risks the 26-year-old signing elsewhere and getting nothing in return for a perennial All-Star hitting his prime.
Tony Parker had 31 points and 12 assists for the Spurs.
• Rodney Stuckey, a former Eastern Washington and Kentwood High School standout, scored 35 points as the visiting Detroit Pistons beat the Sacramento Kings 124-112.
Stuckey made 10 of 18 shots from the field and 11 of 12 free throws.
Rookie Isaiah Thomas of Washington scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting for the Kings.
• Kevin Garnett scored 24 points, including a tiebreaking jumper with 5.1 seconds left, to give Boston a 105-103 victory at Golden State.
Rookie Klay Thompson from Washington State led Golden State with a career-high 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting and former UW Husky Nate Robinson added 20 points and 11 assists. Robinson made 10 of 19 shots.
• Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, and the visiting Los Angeles Lakers beat New Orleans 107-101 in overtime. The Lakers won their fourth in a row.