Less than two weeks into his new job as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D’Antoni has revealed a number of regrets he’s had along the way during his tenure in the NBA, including leaving Phoenix and coaching in New York, according to a Nov. 28 report from Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA:
“I shouldn’t have gone to New York. I should have stuck in there and battled. You don’t get to coach somebody like him [Nash] too many times. It’s pretty sacred and you need to take care of it. I didn’t.”
D’Antoni, of course, now has another chance to coach the two-time MVP, as Nash signed with the Lakers this offseason after spending most of his career in Phoenix, although he is not due back on the court for another week because he is rehabbing a broken fibula in his left leg. D’Antoni said that looking back on those final weeks with the Suns in 2008, he wishes that he hadn’t initiated his departure once the Knicks coaching position became available, calling the decision “irrational,” and admitted that he should have taken a month to figure it out. Instead, he was made an offer by the Knicks on May 9, 2008 and accepted a 4-year, $24 million deal with the team the following day:
“I think we got frustrated and I got frustrated. That’s why I left. We were there, it seemed like we deserved it, and then it seemed like something happened all the time. Maybe we weren’t good enough either. We have to understand that. I probably irrationally made a decision right when the season was over. You should take a month to figure it out. I shouldn’t have left. That was my fault. [I]t was me. I initiated it and I probably shouldn’t have.”
The Suns won three Division titles under D’Antoni but failed each time to advance to the NBA Finals. After an 18-24 start to the 2011 season, D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the Knicks. Now, after some time away from the league, he is 2-3 since taking the reigns from former Lakers head coach, Mike Brown. Perhaps his second stint with Nash will be more productive than his reunion with Amar’e Stoudemire in New York.