Suns Envision Return Of Mike D’Antoni?

The Suns will make Mike D’Antoni a candidate for their head coaching job should it come open in the near future, people within the coaching community indicate to Marc Stein of (Twitter link). D’Antoni, who recently returned to the NBA as the lead assistant for the Sixers, took Phoenix to consecutive Western Conference Finals during a successful run as Suns head coach from 2003-08. Phoenix’s recent troubles reportedly put current head coach Jeff Hornacek on the hot seat, though the team decided to fire a pair of assistants instead of Hornacek last week.

D’Antoni recently described himself as “happy as heck” to be back in coaching with the Sixers after a sabbatical that lasted about a year and a half following his resignation from the Lakers in the spring of 2014. The coach of fast-paced offenses didn’t have as much success in L.A. or in his time with the Knicks as he did with Phoenix. He told Ramona Shelburne of in 2012 that he regretted leaving the Suns to take the job in New York, a departure that Shelburne heard was a mutual decision between D’Antoni and the Phoenix organization.

Suns ownership and then-GM Steve Kerr wanted D’Antoni to hire a new defensive assistant at the time he left the team, and while Kerr has long since departed, owner Robert Sarver remains. Still, Sarver recognizes a lack of championship DNA in his organization and takes at least partial responsibility for that, telling Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic that, “The blame is to be shared from the top down.”

D’Antoni went 253-136 in the regular season and 26-25 in the playoffs during his time as head coach of the Suns, and he won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in his first full season in charge of the team. He’s gone a combined 202-290 in regular season games and 0-8 in the postseason at his other head-coaching stops in the NBA, with the Knicks, Lakers and Nuggets.

Do you think a reunion with D’Antoni would be the right move for the Suns? Leave a comment to let us know.

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11 thoughts on “Suns Envision Return Of Mike D’Antoni?

    • Chuck Myron

      It would be highly unusual for an NBA team to demand compensation for allowing an assistant coach out of his contract to take a head coaching position elsewhere, particularly if such a move took place in the offseason.

    • Even if that was possible, the Sixers would be crazy to ask for a pick. Picks for coaches are usually saved for the better coaches (Doc Rivers). If Philly did ask for a pick the Suns would quickly move on.

  1. Howard

    It would be nostalgic and the full return of run and gun, but I’m not sure if this is the answer long term. Would most agree that the problem is more with the roster than Hornacek no longer a capable coach?

    I’m not allergic to a top 5 pick. I’d prefer that over a playoff sweep at the hands of golden state.

    • I don’t think our roster is the problem. Its a coach that allows players to take shots with their heels on the 3 point line.

  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    The Sixers should allow Brett Brown to go an interview and keep D’Antoni!!!!

    • bright future

      put the pipe down..dantoni doesnt coach D..imo hes better as an assistant coach

  3. Not sure his system would work without Nash. Would Sarver swallow enough pride to bring back a coach he once canned? I see the next coach being Thibodeau.

    • Joe Estes

      Only if we can work out a trade to bring back Dragic for a 3rd time ;-)

  4. Arthur Hill

    A team needs talented guards to make D’Antoni’s system work, and the Suns have that with Bledsoe and Knight. I would like to see it happen. The NBA is more fun when D’Antoni is a head coach.

  5. Stan Williams

    No I don’t think it would be in anybody’s interest to bring Mike D’Antoni back. I hated to see him in the first place. He resigned from the other head coaching jobs he had when things got difficult. He has grown into a quitter.

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