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Sunday, November 23, 2014

New York Knicks Coaching Today Roundup

You’ve probably heard the phrase “time is of the essence” at some point or another in your lifetime. Well, that’s really applicable to the current situation surrounding the New York Knicks head coaching job search confusion. The Knicks currently have a head coach. That man, Mike Woodson, apparently doesn’t even want to have a face-to-face with new team president Phil Jackson until he gets “clarity” on his job status. Although, one might expect he’d get clarity by having a sit-down with the guy who is ultimately going to make the final call. Does your head hurt yet? No? Well let’s continue!

According to a new New York Post report Steve Kerr “absolutely expects” to be offered the New York Knicks head coaching job. Again the Knicks still have a head coach. It’s been in the news for weeks that the Knicks would probably pursue Kerr based on his history with Phil and his reported desire to become an NBA head coach sooner rather than later.

The problem? The Knicks still haven’t made a decision on Woodson’s future with the team. Well, that’s reportedly going to be made early next week, not over the weekend according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.

It appears Woodson will remain in limbo at least for a couple of more days at the very least. So today’s report on Kerr expecting an offer from a team that currently has a head coach makes things a bit awkward. Sure, it’s entertaining to poke fun at Woodson, but with the way this situation is unfolding for him it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy. Not because I’d like to see him stick around another season, I don’t. But it does appear the wheels are already in motion to bring in Kerr as the next head coach behind the scenes before relieving Woodson of his duties, which may not be the most ethical business practice.

Kerr is probably going to be a highly sought after guy this summer; even with zero head coaching experience in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have also been linked to Kerr, so perhaps the Knicks brass knows they have to act fast in hiring Kerr before a potentially better job like the Warriors opens up. It’s kind of eerie how similar the two situations are with Mark Jackson and Mike Woodson. There seems to be a disconnect with management and the head coach for both teams, which typically leads to the head coach getting the short end of the stick.

It’s probably naive to believe these kinds of backdoor negotiations don’t go on all the time, but that doesn’t make the situations any less awkward. Woodson refusing to meet with Phil and wanting clarity on his job-status while Kerr is openly saying he expects the Knicks to offer him the job just has an unseemly vibe even if, again, it’s probably the norm, even for less dysfunctional teams than the ‘Bockers.

In the end, what we can infer from all of these reports is Woodson is not returning to coach the Knicks next season.

It’s the end of an era. Let’s remember Woody at his best; looking confused and/or stone-faced.

50 comments on “New York Knicks Coaching Today Roundup

  1. hoolahoop

    Since when did it become the norm for coaches to be handled so delicately when they get fired. . . while still collecting their millions?
    After the most disappointing season in knicks history, he should be a little more gracious and humble.

  2. DRed

    I don’t feel sorry for Woodson at all. Not feeling sorry for Woody is a big part of what we do here.

  3. hoolahoop

    The choices are limited, but Kerr seems like a big question mark. If Melo stays, the knicks need a coach that can command his respect and combat his lion-hearted will to play hero ball. PJ already started working on that front with Melo, but an experienced, strong willed coach is imperative to handle him. Kerr does not strike me as that guy.

  4. Knicks4Eva

    I have bad memories of Kerr hitting a 3 for the Spurs in 99.
    He would have been out of bounds when he caught the pass, but he didn’t let his heels go down (they were over the line).

  5. Douglas

    I’d rather give a new guy shot than turn to a mediocre retread.

    First-year coaches are doing well in the league: Hornacek, Kidd, and Budenholzer, for example.

  6. george from brooklyn

    The apparent report that “Waldo” has NO interest in meeting with Jackson unless he keeps his “job”, points to the critical problem with the Knicks, all year, lack of communication.An equally apparent, obstinate behavior, leads one to suggest “Waldo” should pack his bags.

  7. ptmilo

    It’s easy to be sympathetic to Woodson. And it’s especially easy to understand why he’d want to be put out of misery quickly, not cuddled into the grave. It’s even easier to look forward to a better coach. Kerr seems like a great choice. The idea that any coach is going to turn Carmelo into something entirely new is fanciful. The Knicks probably underperformed, but they need better players — and especially better defenders — to be competitive. Unfortunately that isn’t too likely in the immediate future, but crazy things happen. Sometimes you find John Starks and Anthony Mason sleeping on the doorstep.

  8. JK47

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but shouldn’t Woodson be… I dunno, taking this like a man? The way he is handling this is wince-inducing. I don’t feel sorry for him but I do feel embarrassed for him. Just go gracefully, oh circle goateed one.

  9. ptmilo

    I think our expectations for grace under pressure in these kinds of situations are grandiose. Just because something comes with the territory doesn’t mean a little wincing isn’t in order. Spending a year listening to a bunch of frothing spectators do the death watch on your vocation can’t be easy, and it’s entirely possible Woodson is a couple days removed from the last NBA game he’ll ever coach. That’s no small thing. He sounds silly blaming things like the JR suspension and the Bargs injury, but overall I think he’s handled a tough situation reasonably well. I doubt I could. Even so, good riddance.

  10. ephus

    There is no need for urgency here. Even if the Warriors are considering Kerr, they are not going to do anything until they are eliminated. Next week is soon enough.

  11. hoolahoop

    I don’t feel sorry for Woodson at all. Not feeling sorry for Woody is a big part of what we do here.

    Some say lion-hearted, some say rock headed.

    That’s two great lines in one short thread!

  12. lavor postell

    The choices are limited, but Kerr seems like a big question mark. If Melo stays, the knicks need a coach that can command his respect and combat his lion-hearted will to play hero ball. PJ already started working on that front with Melo, but an experienced, strong willed coach is imperative to handle him. Kerr does not strike me as that guy.

    I think a guy that is willing to mix it up with MJ is probably a pretty strong willed guy that commands some legitimate respect in the locker room. The guy’s been on 5 championship teams and been a contributor to those successes and not just a Juwan Howard like passenger. At the end of the day whether we think so or not he can walk into a meeting with Melo lay 5 rings on the table and have his complete attention.

    Keeping it and getting Melo to play within a system and trust his teammates down the stretch of a tight game is where his coaching skills will be tested and put on display, but I don’t think commanding respect will be an issue for Steve Kerr. This is a guy who had Arizona State fans chanting PLO at him in regards to his father who was assassinated in Beirut. He only went out that night and went 6-6 from 3.

  13. BigBlueAL

    ESPN writers on Twitter are going nuts because the cap is now expected to be 5 mil higher than originally projected. Apparently this means Melo to the Bulls (or Rockets) is that much more likely. I cant wait for mid-July so all this speculation will be over lol.

  14. lavor postell

    Cap is supposed to be set $63.2m now according to Larry Coon. That’s $1m more than I was assuming for the various scenarios in how the Bulls could sign Melo outright. They’d still need to renounce rights to Augustin, Hinrich and all of their free agents and trade (or sell because it’s Reinsdorf) their 2 first round picks this year and take on no salary in the process to get to where they could offer a salary starting at $16m. They’d still need to trade Dunleavy and take on no salary back to make an offer starting at $19m annually or trade Gibson and take on $3m or less in return to make a full max offer for 4yes, $96m. I haven’t included cap holds for empty roster spots in any of those calculations so they may even need to dump more than that to get where they need to be to make him an offer. I think it’s unlikely Melo leaves New York.

  15. hoolahoop

    If Steve Kerr threw five rings on the table, Melo would probably laugh.

    I hope you’re right about Kerr’s fortitude if he comes here to coach. He’ll need it.
    Melo has proved his will over Allan Iverson, George Karl, Amare Stoudemire, Mike D’antoni, etc., etc. None of those guys could get him to stop shooting too much.

    In a recent interview, PJ explained how he talked to Melo about setting up teammates to score.
    Good luck Steve Kerr.

  16. BigBlueAL

    I think the 5 mil higher is the luxery tax threshold not the actual salary cap. Still Marc Stein and Windhorst on Twitter were making it look like this is a real game changer for the Bulls getting Melo.

  17. Brian Cronin

    The cap being $63 million does make it a lot easier for the Bulls to make a real offer.

    So yeah, if they can make a real offer and keep Taj Gibson then I guess that they are a possibility. I think he still stays, though. I’ll admit that this lowered my certainty about that from about 98% to, let’s say, 80% sure.

  18. hoolahoop

    From NY Post:
    “I feel like we gave away this year,” he (Anthony) said, adding, “I’m not at a point in my career where I want to rebuild.”

    That sounds like a guy who’s seriously thinking about leaving.

  19. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, some of his recent quotes also play into me moving it to about a 20% chance he leaves. I still think he is staying, though.

  20. tastycakes

    Predictions:

    Melo will be convinced to stay for slightly more than he could get from another team — not the super max.

    It will be pitched to him as a rebuilding year where they make the playoffs and start getting better, with an eye on the FA market in 2015 to get the team into true contention. (Whether or not this is possible, I’m saying this is the pitch).

    Kerr will be the head coach (which I think is terrific news based on the fact that he obviously knows his shit if you pay attention to color commentators — you know, the opposite of Mark Jackson).

    Chandler will be moved at the trade deadline for picks / youth, since he’s probably the one guy on the team that still has real value. JR Smith will be moved for a bag of hot garbage, freeing up time for Hardaway. Bargnani will be framed for racketeering in Genoa. If Stat stays healthy, he too will be moved mid-season.

    We’ll be watching a younger, very different, and more spirited team next year with fewer knuckleheads. They will exceed expectations but still get bounced readily in the first round. They will not take on salary preventing them from making a run at Love or another name in 2015.

    If this younger team still fails to deliver, I can see a Melo trade happening in the summer of ’15 that returns multiple first rounders. Which is why I think you have to re-sign Melo, even if he’s not in your future plans — better to sign him now and trade him later than to get stuck in an S&T with the Bulls where we get a pu-pu platter of garbage.

  21. tastycakes

    And if Melo leaves for nothing, it might not be such a bad thing… it will force the team into a true rebuild. I have more faith that a built-from-the-ground-floor team might be a contender in the later part of this decade. I think you can win with Melo but you have to put the right parts around him and his salary will cripple your ability to do that.

  22. ephus

    Larry Coon reported that the 2014-15 salary cap is now projected to be 63.2 mm and 2015-16 is projected to be 66.5 mm.

    Bulls currently have 64.2 mm for next year. They could amnesty Boozer (16.8) and trade Dunleavy (3) to get to 44.5 mm. Moving Tony Snell would get them to 43.3.

    They also would have to renounce Hinrich and Augustin. Augustin is not a big deal, because his non-Bird rights were not going to be enough. They can still use the MLE on Augustin.

    They also would have to ditch their 2014 first round picks.

    With cap holds, Bulls could offer Melo around 4 years/80 million. That’s a real offer, which might force the Knicks into a sign and trade with the Bulls that would give him the full 4 years/95 million.

  23. mokers

    I think Kerr will be a good coach. Forget about the rings. He worked for an owner who is difficult in a way that can sometimes be more frustrating than Dolan and did a pretty good job of understanding his teams’ strengths and constructing a roster around it. As bad as the Knicks roster was this year, it was compounded by the coach not adjusting to what was around him. For example, I trust that Kerr won’t put Bargnani in when he needs rebounding or defense. If Woodson had that realization earlier, the Knicks are likely in the playoffs.

    I think Phil’s job is going to be much tougher. The prospects of a better salary cap situation is promising, but I still think the best way to long term success is drafting well. Perhaps the new salary cap expansion puts a few more teams under the apron/cap and opens up some more suitors for all the bad contracts. Would try and get draft picks for 2014 in any way possible.

    I love Melo, but hope Phil is pretty cutthroat there. Tell him there is no certainty with his shoulder injury and give him a list of teams that have the cap room to sign him. Show him what Lebron signed for in Miami and offer him that X 5. Tell him to get surgery if needed and take as much of the year off as necessary because 2014 is not a priority. If Melo doesn’t like it, then you try for a sign and trade or let him walk.

  24. Totes McGoats

    If Phil hires a coach to run the triangle, u know who I would love to see the team get? Provided his team doesn’t give him a QO…Greivis Vasquez. Unlike past triangle PGs, he can actually be trusted to do more to steady the ship when the offense breaks down if need be. Plus at 6’6″, with Shumpert alongside him it sets a physically imposing tone in that backcourt. Being that their duties wouldn’t be too complicated on offense, they can do all the little things that a scorer like Melo would need if he returns. I would really love to see that move.

  25. ephus

    Toronto almost certainly will extend the 3 million QO to Vasquez. They have to protect against the possibility that Lowry will leave as a free agent.

  26. Z

    Kerr seems like a big question mark. If Melo stays, the knicks need a coach that can command his respect

    Going forward, I’d rather have Kerr than Anthony.

    think a guy that is willing to mix it up with MJ is probably a pretty strong willed guy that commands some legitimate respect in the locker room.

    This is what Kerr had to say about dealing with Jordan:

    “I disagreed with him one time. I think he punched me in the face. It was one of the best things that ever happened for me. I needed to stand up and go back at him, I think I earned some respect. But we have a great relationship ever since. …you gotta prove it and then once you prove it, you’re fine.”

  27. Z

    Here is Kerr on becoming a first time GM:

    “When I got the job as GM, I talked to Danny Ferry, Mark Shapiro of the Cleveland Indians, John Paxson. It was more a case of, let’s see how this works and let me see what we have and I’ll learn on the job and go from there.”

    Kerr on the Shaq trade:

    “I’m conservative by nature — to a fault when I played. I didn’t have any master plan. I read the book ‘The Blueprint’ about the New England Patriots, how efficient they are with their spending, how they really built their team the methodical way. I’m earmarking pages and thinking, ‘This is great stuff. That’s the way to go.’ Then I go trade for a guy with $50 million on his contract who’s 36 years old. Maybe it wasn’t a Patriots-type move.”

    Kerr on the infamous Kurt Thomas trade:

    “There are so many trades made these days that are lousy trades that are made for financial purposes. I mean I made one of the worst trades in NBA history. I traded Kurt Thomas and two first-round picks to Seattle for nothing, to save $16 million for our organization. Where was the NBA then to veto that trade for basketball reasons? That had nothing to do with basketball reasons.”

  28. Z

    Here is Kerr on Advanced Stats:

    “I read Zach Lowe all the time, and he does probably the best job of combining actual game tape with advanced metrics. And when you have that blend, that’s when you can really get an understanding of what’s happening and what a team is trying to accomplish. So I think it’s just, for the guys who understand how to communicate it, like Zach, it’s a really good way to display what’s actually happening. For fans, that’s a really good thing.”

    Kerr on how players value advanced metrics:

    “You want to measure yourself, you want to see how you’re doing against your peers, and now there just happen to be more numbers and more ways to measure yourself. Some players don’t pay attention to the PER and the newer metrics, but I think more and more guys are starting to pay attention to them.”

    Kerr on the value of employing advanced metrics to live-game situations:

    “If you shoot a ton of three’s, we know the math works out – you shoot 50 percent from two, and 33 percent from three and it’s the same thing – but what’s the deeper implication? What about the long rebounds? What about those times when you’re not pulling the ball out of the net, and you’re running a fast-break? How does that affect the defense, and the team that’s shooting all those three’s? That’s what I’m interested in.”

  29. Z

    And finally (and most importantly), Kerr on coaching:

    “The biggest thing in the NBA over the past decade is everybody is trying to get corner three’s; every team is doing that now. I played for the Spurs and Gregg Popovich was probably the first coach in the league to try and do everything possible to deny the corner three. He was kind of a step ahead of everyone. Game plans are definitely designed now to run people off three-point lines, keep them away from the rim, and force them into tougher two-point shots. There’s no secret there.”

    And the best quote of all:

    Kerr on whether he’d consider the Head Coaching job of the Charlotte Bobcats (2009):

    “If you’re gonna coach, you better have players, and they don’t have players.”

  30. Z-man

    Thanks, Z. I like all that I read. Hopefully Phil and Kerr can get the team back on track. It’s great to have hope for a change.

    Other than not having a first round pick in 2016, there is a real opportunity to retool into a winner by 2016. I still have high hopes for Shump. Hardaway has potential. Tyler and Cole are good minimum contract pieces. Amare survived last season and might be a decent role player next year. JR played well the last 30 games or so, would love to trade him but even if not, he can have value in a better system at $6 mill per.

    The big issue is finding a PG and figuring our a way to dump Felton.

  31. lavor postell

    Jackson’s 4th quarter offense was really Woodson-esque. I can’t see the Warriors doing much more than winning a first round series with Jackson running post-ups for Klay for half of the 4th quarter.

  32. ballents

    Watching this first quarter of Indy-Atlanta is making me even more angry that we didn’t see Copeland get more minutes last year. Antic pulling Hibbert out to the three point line makes all the difference. Teague is just getting layups.

  33. Brian Cronin

    Jackson really doesn’t know how to run a modern offense. It is kind of cute, really, watching him try to figure it out.

  34. Hubert

    Watching Atlanta effectively neutralize Hibbert using the obvious strategy Woodson was too stupid to use in the playoffs last year is nice.

    He really should have been fired after that series, 54 wins be damned.

  35. Hubert

    Call me crazy, but I really think we can rebound and be a top 4 team in the east next year simply by firing Woodson, never playing Bargnani, and adding a decent shooter with the mini-MLE. I truly believe those two guys alone were worth the minus 17 wins alone.

  36. ephus

    When Indiana signed Paul George to the max extension, I wrote that they would regret it. Through 40 games, I felt like an idiot. I am getting confident that Paul George is not a great player.

  37. ephus

    Maybe if Chris Copeland looked like the scourge of Sturgis, he would have been trusted by Woodson.

  38. Owen

    Good posts Z. It would be much easier to swallow next season if Steve Kerr were coach. Those quotes were heartening. He sounds like he would fit in perfectly at kblogger….

  39. lavor postell

    David West getting in Pero Antic’s face was priceless. This is a guy born in the former Yugoslavia who’s formative adolescent years coincided with mass civil conflict. David West is from Teaneck, New Jersey which is no cakewalk, but then again neither was Yugoslavia.

    Watching Antic pull Hibbert out of the paint and opening up the floor was basically what we were all begging Woody to do with Cope. I didn’t think I could hate Woody more, but somehow it really is happening. Antic is a 31 year old rookie that ATL found scouting Euro ball. I hope that Knicks scouts are working some Copeland and Prigs magic again this summer with point guards in mind.

    Hubert, I agree with you. The East sucks and even with as bad as we played this season a good coach gets us into the playoffs comfortably and probably has us contending for the Atlantic again.

    Paul George, consensus 3rd best player in the league after Lebron and Durant. LMAO.

  40. Hubert

    I also think if Melo opts out, we should let him leave. If he wants to stay a knick, he should opt in.

  41. ephus

    I’m only half joking when I say that Antic’s tough guy look vs Copeland’s nice guy dreds are part of the story. Woodson’s rationalized keeping Copeland out by citing the need for physical defense on Hibbert. Antic demonstrated tonight that the best way to stop Hibbert on offense is to make him run on defense.

    If Pacers lose this series, I expect a Hibbert for Brook Lopez trade.

  42. lavor postell

    Idk if Indiana can take that kind of risk ephus. Bropez has played 96 games now in 3 seasons and has had MAJOR foot problems which is a horrible sign for any big man.

    I know that this is more of a statistically inclined board and I usually am too but watching the Pacers I can’t help but think something must have happened between guys in that locker room that hasn’t come to light yet. They look completely disinterested and out of sync with each other after basically playing like a tight unit for the better part of the past 2 seasons. Maybe it’s just PG and Lance freelancing too much, but the drop off in energy and effort over the past couple of months has been shocking.

    https://twitter.com/haralabob/status/457691806835019776/photo/1

    That’s embarassing. Basically a picture from the game today in which it seems that PG and West are looking at Hill wondering what play they are running.

  43. d-mar

    Would have been very interesting if we had pulled the trigger on a Lowry or Teague deal and made the playoffs vs. Indiana.

    Although who am I kidding, Woodson would have figured out a way to screw it up and the Pacers confidence would be soaring after a game 1 blowout.

  44. hoolahoop

    Lack of talent wasn’t the knicks biggest problem this season. They have a lot of good players . . . that play shitty.
    Both the defense and offense is unorganized, undisciplined and scattered, like the coach, like the front office, like the owner.
    Criticize Bargnani all you want, but he’s not the problem. How he’s used is the problem. JR is enormously talented – and he’s not a dumb player. But, he’s allowed to play dumb. Woodson put no restraints on him whatsoever, especially early in the season when he really needed to be reigned in.

    If there’s one thing I expect PJ to do, is put a little – no, a lot – of structure and order in this team. On and off the court.
    Woodson was the worst coach I’ve suffered through on this team, ever! This team is at least at good as Brooklyn, and they got a real shot at making a run at the finals.

  45. Kahnzy

    From what I gather on this board, the general consensus in terms of coaching is Isiah Thomas>Mike Woodson. I’m sorry, but I can’t take it that far. Don’t confuse me though, deciding which of those two was worse is like trying to pick which pile of crap smells worse.

  46. Brian Cronin

    I think Isiah wasn’t an awful coach, honestly. Terrible GM, but he was a mediocre coach not an awful one. He did some legitimately good coaching work in Indiana and his New York teams were so bad I don’t know if a good coach would have done any better (of course, they were bad because of Isiah himself, but still).

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