A report from Steve Popper came out today citing a league source who said the New York Knicks are trying hard to push Mike Woodson out the door. According to the source, the Knicks would try to get rid of Woodson by the trade deadline later this month.
But how come this hasn’t happened already, and why do the Knicks have to try to push Woodson out the door?
The reasons are all justified, after all. After coaching the Knicks to 54 wins and their first playoff series victory in a decade, Woodson was out-coached against the Indiana Pacers and lost a series in which the Knicks had home court advantage. Since then, Woodson’s seemingly been in a spiral. It’s fair to blame the front office for giving Woodson a poor hand, but his coaching hasn’t helped either. Woodson has largely strayed from the small-ball system that helped the Knicks so much last year. He’s made questionable rotation decisions, leaving guys like J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani in for big minutes while placing unfair amounts of blame on more effective players like Iman Shumpert. And he’s had players speak out against him, specifically Beno Udrih and Amar’e Stoudemire.
All of this combined with Carmelo Anthony’s impending free agency and the Knicks’ disappointing 19-29 record would seem enough to fire Woodson. But it hasn’t happened yet, despite numerous reports suggesting so.
The latest report would likely indicate that there’s some kind of internal struggle going on within the Knicks. One of the more oft-discussed, yet mysterious aspects about the Knicks is the power that talent agency CAA holds within the organization. Mike Woodson is represented by CAA, the same people that also represent Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and GM Steve Mills. Is CAA the reason Woodson hasn’t been fired? It’s impossible to really know, but if Woodson hasn’t been released yet, it’s likely because he still has some supporters somewhere within the franchise.
Another reason is that there simply aren’t many great options to replace Woodson. I don’t think many people feel that Woodson’s assistant coaches could make great interim coaches, and the replacement options are unrealistic. Jeff Van Gundy’s name has been tossed around, but he would object to replacing someone midway through the season, especially Woodson whom Van Gundy respects. George Karl has also been mentioned, but he didn’t leave off on the best of notes with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, who don’t appear to be on the move any time soon.
One name that has been mentioned is Allan Houston. Houston has been waiting in line for a long time, serving as GM for the Eerie BayHawks and assistant GM, all after working as Donnie Walsh’s understudy while Walsh was still GM. Houston could potentially make a great coach; however, he might be a better option for a total rebuild with a young roster than with this current group who wants to compete deep in the playoffs.
It’s a puzzling, complicated situation, but as the season comes to a head near the trade deadline, more light figures to be shed on what exactly is going on.
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