“I had some ideas on how we could get over the hump. Mike had some ideas,” Kerr said. “We were both frustrated we couldn’t beat the Spurs. I just think if I had more experience as a GM, I would’ve navigated that whole thing a little bit better.” Kerr spoke thoughtfully and in depth about those regrets because of his reverence for D’Antoni. D’Antoni spoke briefly and politely declined to reflect in detail because he harbors the same feelings about Kerr. “We’re good,” D’Antoni said about Kerr. “He’s a great person, a great coach. I have nothing but respect for him.”
The source of contention: the Suns could not figure out a way to advance to the NBA Finals and win an NBA title. So with the Suns losing twice in the Western Conference Finals (to San Antonio in 2005, to Dallas in 2006) and in the Western Conference semifinals (to San Antonio in 2007), Kerr made a significant change. “Mike and I both agreed at that time we weren’t going to win the whole thing with the team we had,” Kerr said. “We had our chances, but we just weren’t going to get over the hump with that group.”
However, Hornacek insisted Mills and GM Scott Perry have not changed the long-term plan for the Knicks. An NBA source confirmed nothing has changed, that playoffs has never been the No. 1 priority for management this season as they hold their own first-round pick in the last year of the current lottery format. “In Phoenix, the plan was rebuilding and [we] got off and had a great year,’’ Hornacek said. “Then the expectations changed, the mentality changed. Here we talked about rebuilding and got off to a good start because we had a lot of home games. But Scott, Steve, we’re still on the same page, giving our young guys opportunities. We’re still trying to win games. We want to establish where we have an identity defensively [that] we’re going to get after it all the time. We’re building toward that and it’s great to have that support.’’