According to MSG:
NEW YORK, April 21, 2014 – New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team’s coaching staff have been relieved of their duties, effective immediately.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff,” Jackson said. “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.
“Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done. We wish him the best.”
In parts of three seasons with the Knicks, Woodson compiled an overall record of 109-79 (.580) that included two consecutive NBA Playoff appearances and an Atlantic Division title – the team’s first in 19 years. On Mar. 19, 2014, he became just the seventh coach in franchise history to reach the century mark in victories. Initially named Knicks interim head coach with 24 games remaining in the 2011-12 season, Woodson completed his ninth season at the helm of an NBA franchise, posting a record of 315-365.
The search for a new coaching staff will begin immediately.
There are a number of things interesting about this. The release from the Knicks P.R. Dept. is much nicer than mine or ESPN’s (“Knicks fire entire coaching staff“) view of the transaction. Obviously the Knicks are showing class here (I know, I can’t believe I wrote that), as kicking Woodson & staff while they are down makes no sense. Doing so would make the next coach be a bit weary on how their exit would affect their next job. This may seem like just a logical move, but remember the bar is lower for our Nix front office.
Second this was done on a Monday morning. Usually the Knicks bury this kind of transaction on a Friday after 5pm, when the beat guys are at their local abandoned lot loading their rose holder with blue belly. Hence it’s a clear sign that they aren’t ashamed of what they’ve done like a toddler going under the table to drop a deuce in his pants (Jim – you’ll get this analogy in about 3 years).
As for Woodson, to use the words of Dennis Green, he was what we thought he was. Other than a brief flirtation with defensive genius for a few weeks in 2012, Woodson’s tenure in New York was slanted towards the offensive side. In 2 of 2.5 Woodly seasons, the Knicks finished 11th or better on offense. On the other side of the court, the defense slid from 5th to 18th to 24th. If the Knicks keep the same cast (and why wouldn’t they, since they are capped out, have no draft picks — OK I’m going to cry here, so I’ll just stop), it’ll be interesting to see if the next coach can actually get them (and I’m looking at you Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert) to play D.
Given the Knicks’ season, it was amazing that Woodson was able to last even this long. He could have been fired when the Knicks lost 9 straight in December and started out 3-13. He could have been canned at the end of the calendar year when the Knicks were 9-21. He could have been jettisoned when the Knicks dropped another 7 straight in March. He could have been let go for how he let J.R. Smith have the world’s longest rope in the beginning of the year. He could have been [insert word for fired – I’m tired of coming up with new ones] for his “Big East” philosophy (despite this, how did he end up giving Cole Aldrich (19.1 PER) only 330 minutes?).
If Phil Jackson dipped his toe in the pool when he signed Lamar Odom, then this was his first cannon-ball. Despite the team being handcuffed with regards to major moves this year, I’m somewhat optimistic with this move. (Of course I was optimistic about Isiah Thomas too, but let’s say I’ve grown in the last 10 years). This is the kind of move you expect from someone that knows what they’re doing with the team.
And finally, farewell Mike. We all hope the Heat or Pacers hire you ASAP.