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Last night Walsh, through a spokesman, emphatically said he has not offered the job to anybody, contrary to a report.

If Walsh really wants D'Antoni, he likely can get him with a five-year offer of $25-to-$30 million — a contract that would bowl D'Antoni over. Walsh must decide if the highly regarded D'Antoni is the right fit at the right time for this Knicks' team.

The Bulls, the only other club in the mix, aren't prepared to offer D'Antoni what he would be making on average in the final two years of his Phoenix deal ($4.25 million).

D'Antoni's agent Warren LeGarie admits the Knicks' money could be the deciding factor if owner James Dolan is willing to spend it. Dolan has told commissioner David Stern he will spend what it takes to get the Knicks out of their laughingstock ways.

LeGarie flew from Greece to New York on a connection to San Francisco, but did not meet with Walsh. It is believed they talked via phone.

"It's still play for pay," LeGarie told The Post. "(The offer) is still a factor. You want to feel wanted. You want to feel recruited."

The hiring of Jackson likely would be better for Stephon Marbury, whom Walsh plans as the Knicks starting point guard for next season. Nevertheless, Marbury is in the last year of his contract and, barring a career year, it's unlikely he will be re-signed.

Jackson and Marbury are New York City homegrown point guards — and born-again Christians. They have a good relationship, and D'Antoni's breakneck offense didn't suit Marbury and soon after he got promoted as head coach during the 2003-2004 season, he was traded to the Knicks to clear cap space. D'Antoni is not known as a big Marbury fan.

Contacted yesterday, Marbury, rehabbing in Los Angeles, did not give an endorsement of either coaching candidate.

"I like whoever Donnie sees fit for this team," Marbury told The Post. "I think he has a great feel for what we need, and to go where all of New York wants us to go. There is a new process of how things are going to be so I'm going to follow his lead and allow his expertise to come into play."

According to one source, Walsh told D'Antoni's camp that if he makes an offer, "It would be one he wouldn't have to think about."

Walsh denies ever making the statement. ESPN.com reported yesterday that the Knicks were preparing "a staggering offer" to D'Antoni. But signals out of the Garden are they're waiting, presumably to see what the Bulls are offering.

Dolan gave Larry Brown a five-year, $50 million pact, so giving former Coach of the Year D'Antoni $30 million is not mind-blowing. His innovative, small-ball fastbreak attack was revolutionary and a model for other franchises, including the Knicks. Isiah Thomas drafted Renaldo Balkman, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson and David Lee with D'Antoni's attack in mind.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 10, 2008

News » Knicks deciding between D'Antoni, Jackson 2008-05-09


Knicks deciding between D'Antoni, Jackson 2008-05-09


Knicks deciding between D'Antoni, Jackson 2008-05-09
It's a two-horse race.

Sources indicated yesterday New York Knicks president Donnie Walsh is torn on whether to offer the job to the star coach available, Mike D'Antoni, or take a slight gamble on someone with no head-coaching experience, Mark Jackson.

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