The New York Knicks may have started their summer vacation after being eliminated form the NBA playoffs at the hands of the Miami Heat, but their coaching future is looking like interim coach Mike Woodson will be the permanent coach in due time.
After taking the head coaching reigns when Mike D’Antoni resigned, Woodsen led the Knicks to the playoffs and an 18-6 record in the regular season, it would seem Woodson appears to set to become the permanent head coach next season despite rumors New York wanted Phil Jackson to lead the team.
The Knicks’ anticipated tango with coaching legend Phil Jackson never materialized. According to multiple sources, the Knicks never contacted the Zen Master.
The Knicks did not get the impression he was interested. But they will never know if he would have accepted the job because they never asked.
According to a source, Jackson wanted Woodson to get the job.
Though Dolan was intrigued by Jackson, he no longer is big on throwing monster money at coaches after the Larry Brown fiasco.
Let’s face it. The Knicks were a total mess this season. Sure there was that moment of “Linsanity,” but all-in-all, this Knicks squad never lived up to its potential. Jackson would have only came in as head coach if the team was a ready-made title contender. Something New York, in its current state, is not. So sticking with Woodsen makes all the sense in the world.
He has established an identity with the current roster, is a proven winner as a head coach during his time with the Hawks, and he must be given a chance at a roster at full strength.
Despite losing to the Heat in the first-round of the playoffs (4-1), Woodson did not have Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis, and Amar’e Stoudemire (for one game due to punching glass and lacerating his hand) at his disposal (due to injuries) to truly test Miami. Yet he was able to get one win in a series so lopsided towards the Heat.
Furthermore, New York stars Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire, both give Woodson their vote of confidence.
“Absolutely, if they’re going to do it right now or wait till after the season, I would love to see him back,’’ Anthony said. “I support that. Everybody knows what he did thus far since he’s been here in the short period that he’s been head coach. There’s no need to cut it off right now. We’re kind of just getting started.’’
Stoudemire added, “I think it’s something we can build on, for sure. We all love his philosophy on both ends of the court. It’d be great to build something solid sooner than later.’’
With the backing of Melo and Amar’e, and Jackson not being a a strong candidate for the head coaching spot, it seems Woodson will get a legitimate shot at making this Knicks team a threat in the East and perhaps advancing past the first-round next season.