I happen to be of the opinion that it is utterly ridiculous to even consider firing Mike Woodson at this point. Considering the banged up roster that Mike Woodson has to work with, the time it takes to work new faces into a rotation, and oh yeah, the fact that the Knicks have played ten games, makes me feel fairly certain that most of this talk is simply that – talk.
But regardless of how I feel, the questions surrounding Mike Woodson’s future are real, and when you have an owner like Jim Dolan anything is possible.
Ian Begley of ESPN.com tackled this question today and presented 6 intriguing candidates if Woodson were to “resign” as the good folks at MSG so often like to call it.
With that in mind, here a few guys who could take over should Dolan decide to fire Woodson:
Darrell Walker: The Knicks assistant coach would be the most likely/logical candidate to take over on an interim basis if Woodson is let go. He has two years of head-coaching experience and seems to be well-respected in the locker room. Another potential interim candidate is assistant Jim Todd. Like Walker, Todd seems to be a respected voice among players. It should be noted that both Walker and Todd are fiercely loyal to Woodson, so the Knicks may turn to Herb Williams to run the team as an interim head coach.
Lionel Hollins: Hollins led Memphis to 56 wins last season and was dumped due in part to philosophical differences with his bosses. Many were surprised that he wasn’t hired by one of the teams looking for a coach in the offseason. If the Knicks wanted to make a permanent hire in the middle of the season (unlikely), Hollins would be a great candidate. But any coach hired on a permanent basis will likely need a seal of approval from Carmelo Anthony.
Jeff Van Gundy: The ESPN analyst’s exit from the team was messy in 2001. But he had a successful run in his seven-season stint in New York, going 248-172. That’s the second-highest winning percentage in Knicks history. The guess here, though, is that Van Gundy is enjoying his gig as an analyst and wouldn’t be interested in taking the bench in the middle of a season. Maybe he’d be more open to the job in the offseason?
Phil Jackson: Retired since 2011, Jackson has turned down several offers to return to coaching since. What makes you think he’d want to coach these Knicks? Don’t forget, he called the pairing of Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony “clumsy” in a 2012 interview.
Jerry Sloan: Could the Knicks convince the Utah Jazz legend to come out of retirement and try to turn things around in New York? Probably not. But there’s one factor in their favor here: Sloan could be intrigued by the possibility of battling old nemesis Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets.
Isiah Thomas: Yes, we went there. And don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility, either. Thomas didn’t have success running or coaching the Knicks in his first run in New York, but he remains close to several in the organization, including Dolan.