The New York Knicks continue to compile losses as their tumultuous season has brought them to a record of 19-30, good for the tenth-seed in the Eastern Conference. New York was expected to be toward the top of the conference after earning 54-wins last season and the two-seed, but injuries combined with poor play and poor coaching have the Knicks struggling to win games. They have now lost three straight and 4-of-6 in their last 10 contests.
Due to the team’s lack of success in recent months, there are now reports emerging that specific individuals on New York’s roster have plotted against head coach Mike Woodson to get him, and almost all of his coaching staff fired from the organization, according to Steve Popper of The Bergen Record. Because there are no high-profile coaches who would step in at this point midseason, the team is considering keeping assistant coach Herb Williams on staff and promoting him as interim head coach.
The Knicks players, however, have yet to publicly or directly voice their displeasure with Woodson.
“I stopped listening to stuff like that honestly.” J.R. Smith said. “I love Coach Woodson. I think he’s done a great job. But it’s out of my hands. So I would hope not, but if it does then we have to live with it.”
It is still unclear what Smith specifically means of Woodson’s “great job.” The team has a record 19-30 with losses to the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers as well as the dysfunctional Cleveland Cavaliers and lowly Milwaukee Bucks. For a team with playoff aspirations, they do not have the luxury to take nights off or play sub-par. The Knicks need to win. But it seems they just can’t.
“At this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen, if something’s going to happen,” Carmelo Anthony said. “To be honest with you, I don’t know what rumors is out there. When I tell you I don’t read or look at that stuff honestly I don’t. If something was to happen then it’s out of my hands.”
Despite the rumors swirling about Woodson’s job security since the beginning of the season, owner James Dolan gave his coach a vote of confidence in a rare interview with the New York Post, as Popper points out:
“I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players,” Dolan told Mike Vaccaro. “They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach.”
Yet, that was in November. A lot has changed in the last couple of months and Dolan is known for acting irrationally. Just prior to the start of this season’s campaign, he fired former general manager Glen Grunwald and replaced him with Steve Mills. The booting was a surprise to many, including their superstar player.
The Knicks appear to be at a crossroads. The low-quality of the Eastern Conference this season has allowed them to stay in the playoff hunt, but making the postseason is certainly not a guarantee at this point. With Anthony’s free-agency looming and essentially acting as the team’s only capable player on the court on a nightly basis, New York’s primary focus should be to keep the 29-year-old in the Big Apple. To keep him, the Knicks must win.
Can they win with Woodson?