As Donnie Walsh seeks to regain full autonomy within the Knicks organization, Mike D'Antoni could be losing some of his power on the Knicks' bench.
According to several sources, the front office will encourage D'Antoni to revamp his coaching staff to hire a defensive coach. In the past, D'Antoni has been reluctant to seek outside help, most famously refusing Steve Kerr's request four years ago to hire Tom Thibodeau in Phoenix. Thibodeau landed in Boston in 2007, and helped the Celtics win the title three seasons ago. He now is head coach of the top-seeded Bulls.
D'Antoni is under contract through next season and is expected to be retained after leading the Knicks to their first postseason appearance in seven years. However, under D'Antoni the Knicks have been among the league's weaker defensive teams, which is something Walsh would like to change.
Memphis assistant Dave Joerger, Orlando's Steve Clifford, Portland's Bill Bayno and Chicago's Ron Adams are all regarded as top defensive coaches. Another possibility for the Knicks is Thibodeau's replacement in Boston, Lawrence Frank, the former Nets' coach. Frank's contract expires this summer.