“Does He Stay? Do They Make A Trade?” | Amar’e Stoudemire Says Hiring Mike D’Antonio To Replace Doc Rivers Is Kiss of Death For Joel Embiid

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Now that Doc Rivers and the 76ers are eliminated from the NBA playoffs, the barrage of hang Harden and fire Doc Rivers opinion will bombard social media and flow out of the mouthpieces of sports talk pundits.

Doc’s chilling after being eliminated in the playoffs, but the fans are going nuts.

In the postgame presser Rivers said, “I don’t worry about my job. I think I do a terrific job and if you don’t, then you should write it.”

Return Of The D’Antoni Euro Offense

Some media have even suggested that former NBA coach Mike D’Antoni, whose legendary offense is credited with unleashing the beast that became “The Beard,” should relieve the current championship coach in Philadelphia.

Of course, that’s just emotional gibberish and Doc Rivers hate.


It’s become fashionable to bash Rivers. Social media is having a party at his expense. All of the Ben Simmons hate has seemed to rub off on the next closest targets with Simmons well out of range and pretty much irrelevant at this point.

There are those who believe that bringing in D’Antoni, who has never won anything, would reinvigorate James Harden and elevate the team offensively. Former Knicks player Amar’e Stoudemire, who played under D’Antoni with Steve Nash, doesn’t think bringing in the offensive guru is a good fit. He appeared on “First Take” on Friday morning.

“I dont know,” Stoudemire said. “Bringing in D’Antoni, what does that mean for Joel Embiid? Because Mike D’Antoni is an up-tempo, fast pace, pick-n-roll kind of coach. And Embiid needs the ball in the post. And when I played for coach D’Antoni I was more so concerned because I wasn’t getting the ball in the post and I felt I could dominate the game in that space. That’s an added bonus for us if we can get a basket in the post. So I was always a little bit frustrated by not being able to get that and make that happen.”

Stoudemire says with perennial MVP candidate Joel Embiid already positioned as the centerpiece of the Sixers offense there will be a problem if D’Antoni comes in and Embiid isn’t getting his low-post touches.

“If D’Antoni’s game is more catered for James Harden, then what does that mean for Joel Embiid,” Stoudemire asked. “Does he stay? Do they make a trade?”

Stephen A. Smith doesn’t like the thought of Mike D taking over either. Smith doesn’t feel that D’Antoni, who has a career record of 672-527 in stints with the Suns, Knicks, Lakers Rockets and Nuggets, can accomplish any more than Rivers has.

“People tease D’Antoni because they think the ‘D”’should be removed from his name,” said Smith, referring to the lack of defense that D’Antoni’s high-scoring teams have historically played.
“If you want a show offensively, then Mike D’Antoni is your guy. But if you believe defense wins championships, don’t count on him delivering in that department. That ain’t who he is.”

Then Stoudemire, someone who played for D’Antoni, co-signed the scathing indictment (at Smith’s request).

“You’re absolutely spot on,” said Stoudemire.

In defense of D’Antoni, Amare had his two best pro seasons under D’Antoni’s leadership, averaging 26/9 and 25/9 in those All-Star-caliber seasons.

However, trying to recapture the magic and chemistry Harden had in Houston at the prime of his career is going backward.

If Philly is truly trying to get over the hump, then that starts with GM Elton Brand and the talent the front office will put around its franchise player Joel Embiid. The pieces and style of offense have to fit. And when defense is a staple of your star player’s repertoire, you don’t want to mess with it.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.