Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni has been linked to each of the NBA’s current vacancies, and he reportedly is interested in at least one of them — if not all.
But according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there appears to be little doubt about D’Antoni’s interest in the Trail Blazers job.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first mentioned D’Antoni as someone who might be on Portland’s radar, and it indeed appears that interest is mutual.
D’Antoni is in his first season as a assistant under Steve Nash with the Nets. He previously spent four years with the Rockets before that. On both teams, D’Antoni has coached star guard James Harden, who gave D’Antoni a ringing endorsement before the season.
“Mike’s a unbelievable coach,” Harden said, adding that D’Antoni was one of the reasons he wanted to come to Brooklyn.
D’Antoni, 70, has also coached the Lakers, Nuggets, Suns and Knicks.
The Blazers are coming off eight straight playoff appearances under former coach Terry Stotts — but four first-round exits in five years. D’Antoni’s style of lots of perimeter shooting and strong point guard play could appeal to point guard Damian Lillard.
Either way, the Blazers are expected to cast a wide net in their coaching search, which team president Neil Olshey suggested is getting underway this week.
The Magic, Pacers and Celtics also have coaching vacancies and D’Antoni has been mentioned as a possibility for the Pacers and Celtics as well.