Phoenix Suns promote Mike D'Antoni to GM
Phoenix Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Managing Partner Robert Sarver have announced that Head Coach Mike D’Antoni will also assume the role of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the team.
The Suns also announced that David Griffin has been promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations and Mark West has been promoted to Vice President of Player Programs.
“We are truly fortunate to have one of the most respected and successful coaches leading our organization,” said Sarver. “Mike has been an integral part of our success and has been involved in all decision making. He will now lead our basketball operations, supported by the extensive talents within his department.”
Colangelo added, “Mike, David and Mark work extremely well together, respecting each other’s strengths, tirelessly working towards our common goal, and having a clear understanding of what it is going to take for us to win a championship while achieving sustained success for our fans.”
Since taking over 21 games into the 2003-04 season, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year has led Phoenix to a 125-78 record (.616), including a 104-38 mark (.733) since the start of the 2004-05 season. Phoenix owns the NBA’s fourth-best record (42-18) this season despite playing without injured All-Star forward/center Amaré Stoudemire.
In his first full season as head coach for the Suns in 2004-05, D’Antoni engineered the third-largest turnaround in NBA history and became only the second coach in team history to be honored as NBA Coach of the Year (Cotton Fitzsimmons, 1988-89). D’Antoni directed the Suns to a club record-tying 62 wins, a remarkable 33-game improvement over a disappointing 29-53 record in 2003-04.
D’Antoni joined the Suns coaching staff in June 2002, having brought with him a 30-year professional basketball background that included the NBA, ABA and the Italian League. In 2003, he guided the NBA's youngest roster to a 21-40 mark after inheriting a trade-overhauled and injury-riddled Suns team. Installing an up-tempo style of play, the Suns increased their scoring by more than three points a game under his charge.
“I am excited about what we are building here in Phoenix and the nucleus we presently have on and off the court,” D’Antoni said. “We have extremely talented individuals within our own organization and we have all worked together seamlessly and will continue to do so, working collectively. While leading our basketball operations, my day to day focus will continue to be on coaching our players.”
D’Antoni served as head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the 1998-99 season and was the club’s director of player personnel in 1997-98. He was also on the bench as an assistant coach for Portland in 2000-01 and was a scout for San Antonio during the 1999-2000 campaign.
In 2001-02 he returned to the Italian League and once again coached Benetton Treviso, leading the club to the Italian League championship after a 28-8 season. His team included former Sun Charlie Bell, ex-NBA player Tyus Edney and 2002 NBA top 15 draftees and current Sun Nikoloz Tskitishvili (fifth to Denver) and Bostjan Nachbar (15th to Houston).
An Italian League legend, he coached Benetton from 1994-97 when his team captured the Cup of Europe and Cup of Italy in 1995 and won the league title in 1996-97 after a 22-4 regular season. Prior to that D’Antoni guided Philips Milan for four seasons from 1990-94 and led the club to the 1993 Korac Cup. During his Italian tenure D’Antoni led his teams to the playoffs each season and was twice voted the league’s Coach of the Year.