Knicks on Mike D'Antoni: 'It'll be fun'

Updated: November 12, 2012, 4:21 PM ET
By Jared Zwerling | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- During Monday afternoon's media session at the New York Knicks' practice facility, only one topic was bigger than discussing the team's 4-0 start, which made it the only unbeaten team in the league.

That would be the Los Angeles Lakers hiring former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.

Carmelo Anthony said he was "happy" for D'Antoni, who manned the sideline in New York from 2008 to March, when he resigned.

"I knew he was trying to take some time off and get healthy and things like that," he said. "I was with him this summer. He didn't really know what was going to happen as far as getting a job this year or next year.

"Obviously it worked out this summer with him and Kobe (Bryant). Maybe they had something under the table, I don't know. But it'll be fun. I know Kobe's excited about that, so we'll see what happens."

Anthony said that because D'Antoni has longtime relationships with Bryant and Dwight Howard on Team USA and coached Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns from 2004 to '08, it would make coaching the Lakers easier.

D'Antoni was an assistant on the U.S. team and won a gold medal this summer with Bryant and Anthony.

"To be honest with you, man, you don't really have to bring too much to that team that they have out there," Anthony said. "The two bigs, Kobe, Steve Nash. Steve Nash is used to the open offense, spread offense. Kobe played with D'Antoni a couple of times on the USA team. Dwight was actually on one of the teams, so that offense will be quite familiar to those guys."

During D'Antoni's tenure with the Knicks, there were some reports that he and Anthony didn't get along, which led to the coach stepping down.

But Anthony referred to those reports as "B.S.," saying that he and D'Antoni have a "pretty good relationship." He believes D'Antoni will bring positive energy to the Lakers.

"Any time guys are losing like that, there's always negativity," he said. "Sometimes a change is better."

Mike Woodson, who coached under D'Antoni during most of the 2011-12 season, is also expecting great things from his former mentor.

"I'm very excited for him. I really am," he said. "I think he's a guy that's meant to be a coach. He's done great things over the years as a coach, and I think he'll do extremely well there."

Woodson said he's even using some of D'Antoni's pick-and-roll and spread-out offensive schemes this season with the Knicks.

Steve Novak reflected on D'Antoni's impact in New York, calling him an "offensive genius."

"They're getting a great coach," he said. "I think he's going to do a great job with those guys. I think him and Steve Nash are pretty familiar with each other, so I think Coach D'Antoni is going to have another assistant coach out there on the floor, so I think that will help.

"And obviously Kobe is very familiar with Coach D'Antoni, which is nice when a coach comes in without training camp to have guys who are familiar with him and have worked with him before."

The Knicks face the Lakers on Dec. 13 at Madison Square Garden and then on Christmas Day in L.A.

Novak already has a prediction for both games.

"I expect the Lakers to win every game except for the ones that we play against them," he said.

Jared Zwerling is a frequent contributor for ESPNNewYork.com.

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