Mike Woodson’s fate as coach of the New York Knicks was sealed when Phil Jackson was hired to run the organization a month ago. Monday, it became official.
Jackson bounced Woodson, paving the way for former NBA player and current television analyst Steve Kerr, a move that was not announced but is anticipated in the coming days.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff,” Jackson said in a statement released by the team. “The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual. But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond.”
Woodson, 56, was 109-79 in two-plus seasons as the team’s head coach. But the disastrous 37-45 just-completed season was not acceptable for a franchise with a mammoth payroll and enormous expectations. In an indication Jackson wants to start over completely, all Woodson’s staff was fired, too.
“Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done. We wish him the best,” Jackson said.
Woodson, the former coach of the Atlanta Hawks, could not overcome a dysfunctional lot of players who never seemed to gel. Star forward Carmelo Anthony said he intends to test the free-agent market, although he added that he’d like to remain a Knick. Guard J.R. Smith was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Point guard Raymond Felton was arrested on gun possession charges. Injuries mounted.
“You can point the fingers in a lot of directions. And I’m not going to sit here and air that out. At the end of the day, I’m the coach and I didn’t get it done. It’s just that simple,” Woodson said last week. “Being the coach, I just apologize to the fans…We dug a hole early and then tried to make a major push here at the end to get in and we just didn’t get it done.”