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Knicks Fire Mike Woodson And His Staff

Mike Woodson
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images Sport

It had been speculated throughout a chunk of the NBA’s second half that Mike Woodson would be fired if the Knicks didn’t find a way to make the playoffs, even as a eighth-seed.

And honestly, with the addition of Phil Jackson to the front office, even making the playoffs and being ushered out in the first round likely wouldn’t have saved his job anyway.

That’s not to say Jackson doesn’t like Woodson, or that it was all Woodson’s fault the Knicks stunk up the joint this year, but on Monday came the official swing of the axe that severed Woodson from the team – and all of his assistant coaches, too.

Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni during the 2011-12 campaign, finishing that year with an 18-6 record to push the Knicks into to the playoffs. Last year, New York’s 56 wins under his leadership marked the most wins the franchise had seen in more than 15 years. But, then came 2013-14 disappointment of a 37-45 record which was almost unexplainable.

They still had Carmelo Anthony as the centerpiece, last year’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith was healthy and Amar’e Stoudemire moved on the court like he was in his 20’s again.

So what then?

Woodson didn’t forget how to coach but his message of defense and hustle seemed to be lost on his players. Stoudemire recently said in an interview that the players just stopped listening to their coach.

While that isn’t completely on Woodson, the Knicks aren’t going to trade all their good players in favor of finding a team that will listen. The two need to go together and often the coach takes the brunt of it. The long and short of it: a change was needed.

Plus, it allows Jackson – who was promised full autonomy in deciding the team’s direction – to find his own ‘guy’ to implement his own system. It will be interesting to see if he taps a young coach and opts to teach him the triangle-offense and more of his own philosophies, or if he goes the route of a veteran with a similar thought process.


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