While the Times’ William C. Rhoden argues the Knicks returning to MSG tonight in a 2-0 hole against Boston is a reason for New York fans to “celebrate the light” rather than kick the shit out of Mike D’Antoni, TNT’s Charles Barkley has apologized for suggesting the former Phoenix head coach would be looking for work this summer. Newsday’s resident P-90X spokesperson, Alan Hahn :

“I have a rule; I try to always be honest and fair on TV,” he said. “I screwed up the other night when I said something about Mike D’Antoni that wasn’t cool. I want to apologize to Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh . When you’re on television, you should never talk about someone getting hired or fired. That’s inappropriate. I made that mistake. I want to apologize personally to Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh. I’ve got a great respect for Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni. I want to apologize. That’s all I can do.”

During TNT ‘s pregame show Tuesday, Barkley criticized D’Antoni’s coaching and added, “That’s why they are going to have a new coach next year.”

D’Antoni got word of it via text message after the Knicks ‘ loss. Barkley has become notorious for his negative take on the Knicks, but according to multiple sources, this comment, especially with D’Antoni in the midst of a playoff series, infuriated several members of the hierarchy, most notably Walsh.

If Walsh was pissed at Barkley, one can only imagine how he felt about the TImes’ Harvey Araton telling the entire world the Knicks’ lame duck GM “is too much of a loyal organization man to admit he would have preferred to chase a Deron Williams, a Chris Paul, before expending the enormous resources he did on Carmelo Anthony at the behest of his owner, James L. Dolan.” Walsh and D’Antoni deserve massive credit for their role in returning the Knicks to respectability, but no halfway competent sports journalist (or Charles Barkley for that matter) should ignore who is ultimately in charge at the World’s Most Dysfunctional Arena. If D’Antoni and Walsh really have job security, why would the nation’s most disliked blues guitarist routinely undermine the latter or allow either to twist in the wind?