Suns give D'Antoni VP, general manager powers

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns have placed coach Mike D'Antoni
in charge of the franchise's basketball operations in the wake of
the departure of Bryan Colangelo to the Toronto Raptors.
Owner Robert Sarver announced Friday that in addition to head
coach, D'Antoni will become executive vice president of basketball
operations and general manager.
"Mike has been an integral part of our success and has been
involved in all decision making," Sarver said. "He will now lead
our basketball operations, supported by the extensive talents
within his department."
The Suns also promoted David Griffin to vice president of
basketball operations and former player Mark West to vice president
of player programs.
The arrangement is similar to that of Gregg Popovich with the
San Antonio Spurs.
"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. "While leading our basketball operations, my day to day
focus will continue to be on coaching our players."
Sarver decided not to hire from the outside after Colangelo
chose last month to leave his position of president and general
manager to become general manager in Toronto. Colangelo's father
Jerry continues to serve as Suns chairman as part of the agreement
by the ownership group he headed to sell the franchise to Sarver.
D'Antoni was an assistant coach with the Suns before taking the
head coaching job when Frank Johnson was fired 21 games into the
2003-04 season. His overall record since is 125-78, 104-38 since
the start of the 2004-05 season.
His team won an NBA-best 62 games last season, earning him
league coach of the year honors.
This season, despite the absence of injured all-star Amare
Stoudemire and the departure of Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson,
the Suns lead the Pacific Division with a 42-18 record, the
fourth-best mark in the NBA.
With Steve Nash running the show on the court, D'Antoni intalled
a high-scoring, up-tempo, entertaining style. The coach gleaned
that style from 20 years in Italy as a player and coach.