Report: D'Antoni's future with Suns to be resolved next week
Amid a growing expectation around the league that Mike D'Antoni and the Phoenix Suns will soon part company, Suns president Steve Kerr said Friday nothing will be decided definitively until next week.
Speaking to the Arizona Republic after huddling for two hours with D'Antoni and Suns owner Robert Sarver, Kerr said: "We had a really good, productive meeting and lunch. There isn't any resolution, nor did I expect one."
The Republic reported Friday on its Web site that D'Antoni and his bosses agreed to take "a few days" to digest what was said during a lunch meeting in a restaurant neighboring US Airways Center.
"It might just continue from there," Kerr said of the next meeting. "We just have to hash it out. We talked about some stuff and I think it's good to have time to think about all of that."Kerr has said repeatedly since the Suns' first-round ouster by San Antonio on Tuesday night that he hopes to convince D'Antoni to stay on as coach and believes that in-house tensions can be diffused. But NBA coaching sources continue to echo the sentiments revealed earlier this week by Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum, who wrote that the highly frustrated D'Antoni considers his philosophical differences with his bosses to be "irredeemable." McCallum spent the 2005-06 season as a virtual member of D'Antoni's coaching staff to write the acclaimed book "Seven Seconds or Less." ESPN.com also reported Friday that Chicago has emerged as the most likely landing spot for D'Antoni if he leaves Phoenix. But it's believed that D'Antoni would have to resign -- with two years and $8.5 million left on his contract -- just to officially speak with the Bulls after Kerr recently told the Suns' flagship radio station (KTAR 620 AM) that he would deny permission to any team wishing to interview D'Antoni. Sources say those philosophical differences break down thusly: • D'Antoni considers Kerr's strategic suggestions to be meddlesome and excessive after the Suns averaged 57 wins over the past four seasons, three of which ended with playoff losses to the execution masters from San Antonio.
• But sources say Suns management and a veteran player or two, while all hopeful that D'Antoni will stay, want more practice time spent on defense and want to see two mistake-prone young talents -- Amare Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa -- challenged more by the coaching staff and held more accountable for their mistakes.Sources say recently fired Mavericks coach Avery Johnson will not be a candidate in Phoenix if D'Antoni leaves. And Kerr told ESPN.com on Thursday that recent suggestions he would be a candidate to replace D'Antoni are completely untrue, reiterating his long-held stance that he wouldn't even consider coaching until his children are out of school.
ESPN.com senior writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.