Carmelo Anthony continues to say he has a good relationship with Mike D'Antoni and wishes his old coach well in his new position running the Lakers.
"I'm happy for him," Anthony said after the Knicks practiced Monday. "Despite all the hoopla and the ---- that was going on about me and Mike, we always had a pretty good relationship. Especially behind closed doors and at practice, we actually talked a lot, talked basketball."
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Either way, the Knicks' two December games against the Lakers are a little more interesting now. D'Antoni will make his Garden return Dec. 13 and the teams face each other again in Los Angeles on Christmas Day.
D'Antoni was a surprising choice as Mike Brown's successor. Phil Jackson was considered the favorite to coach the Lakers for a third time, but a deal couldn't be reached.
D'Antoni will officially take over the Lakers within a week or two, depending how quickly he recovers from knee-replacement surgery. Bernie Bickerstaff will remain the team's interim coach for now.
D'Antoni reportedly will get a guaranteed three-year, $12-million deal and is inheriting a team that's expected to compete for a championship with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol making up the core.
He is reuniting with Nash, a two-time MVP under D'Antoni in Phoenix. D'Antoni also has a strong relationship with Bryant. His pick-and-roll scheme could be lethal in Los Angeles with Nash running it and Howard finishing.
"Steve Nash is used to that offense, the great offense," Anthony said. "Kobe played with D'Antoni a couple of times with the USA team, Dwight was actually on one of the teams. That offense will be quite familiar to those guys."
The offense and Anthony's role in it ultimately led to D'Antoni walking away on March 14. D'Antoni compiled a 121-167 record in 3 1/2 seasons with the Knicks.
His pick-and-roll offense was working well with Jeremy Lin playing the point, but Anthony was more comfortable posting up and in isolations. The Knicks were splintering in the locker room and on the court after Anthony returned from a groin injury. They lost their final six games under D'Antoni and were 18-24 when he left.
Mike Woodson replaced him and led the Knicks to an 18-6 finish. After a 4-0 start, they're 22-6 overall under Woodson.
"Some of the things Mike did, I'm still doing," Woodson said. "I've added a few things to what he's done, but I like a lot of things Mike did from an offensive standpoint. I think Mike's a fantastic coach.
"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 they'll do extremely well there."
D'Antoni and Anthony spoke after D'Antoni's departure and actually proved they can win together. D'Antoni was an assistant on the U.S. team that Anthony helped win a gold medal at the London Olympics. They ran a similar offense to D'Antoni's.
"I was with him this summer," Anthony said. "He didn't really know what was going to happen as far as getting a job, this year or next year. With him and Kobe, maybe they had something under the table, I don't know. But it'll be fun. I know Kobe's excited about that. We'll see what happens."
With John Jeansonne