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Rumor: Knicks could fire Mike Woodson by trade deadline

Feb 5, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

The Knicks are not rebuilding, they just have the record of a rebuilding team.

At the start of the season the Knicks thought they were the 54-win team of last season, which made the second round of the playoffs; instead they are 19-29 and two games back of the last playoff spot in the lowly East. Injuries are part of that (management built a team that cannot win without Tyson Chandler), but also they aren’t taking or making as many threes, they aren’t shooting as well overall, their point-guard play has been down, and the offense is no longer covering up a defense that was never all that strong to begin with.

That’s not all coach Mike Woodson’s fault, but he is far from blameless in this mess (he only went to the small lineup of Carmelo Anthony at the four because injuries forced him to).

Which has led to a ton of speculation early in the season Woodson was in trouble — rumors owner James Dolan has tried to shoot down. However the Knicks have traded away future assets to be good now and when that goes poorly the coach is always on the hot seat.

Now comes the latest speculation that Mike Woodson could be let go by the Feb. 20 trade deadline, via Steve Popper of the Bergin Record.

With the trade deadline looming and no reason to tank — already sending their first-round pick away in the deal that brought Carmelo Anthony — the Knicks are desperate to make a playoff push.

Their options for a deal are slim and with Anthony a free agent at season’s end, the Knicks will try to provide enough hope and optimism to keep him in town.

That leaves a coaching change as the other impetus for a late run. Players seemed to have distanced themselves from Woodson — and Stoudemire seems the latest to lose faith.

Understand that is speculation, not even a sourced report. So take it for what it’s worth.

From the outside it seems Woodson has lost the locker room — players’ defense of him seems tepid at this point. And if the idea is that a coaching change can shake up a team and put them on run, we’ve seen that before. It does work.

The big question is: who do they get to replace Woodson?

For the rest of this season an assistant could be promoted or Alan Houston could come down out of the front office, and maybe that provides a little bump this season. But that is not the long-term answer.

The name coaches the Knicks would want — Stan Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy, George Karl and the like — will demand a level of control over the roster Knicks management is not willing to surrender. Despite the money and prestige, those guys see the roster, see the organization and will be hesitant to step into the muck.

There are not a lot of good long-term options for the coaching spot lined up for New York.

Firing Woodson could provide a short-term boost, but the long-term issues with this organization remain. And they’re issues not only a new coach would ask about, they’re ones Carmelo Anthony will ask about this summer.

  1. sportsfan18 - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Any team construction that has Melo as its number 1 player is a poor one.

    • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      What team in the NBA with only 1, number 1 player has won a championship?

      • spursareold - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Spurs, 2003. But then again, Melo at his peak wasn’t even 85% of a peak Duncan.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994. Clyde Drexler wasn’t on the team yet when Olajuwon won his first championship.

        Then there’s the 2004 Pistons, who didn’t really have a superstar player but instead just had a lot of good players who fit well together.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        All 6 of the Bulls championships when Jordan was FAR and away the number 1 player on the team.

        Yes they had Scottie, but there was, well quite a gap between Scottie and MJ.

      • TheMorningStar - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        Let’s see:

        The Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s

        The 1967 Philadelphia 76ers

        The 1977 Portland Trail Blazers

        Not to mention teams like the 1975 Warriors or 1979 Supersonics who had no ‘#1 player’.

        Guess you started watching the NBA in say, 2012?

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        sportsfan18 – Feb 5, 2014 at 1:27 PM
        All 6 of the Bulls championships when Jordan was FAR and away the number 1 player on the team.

        Yes they had Scottie, but there was, well quite a gap between Scottie and MJ.
        ———————————————————————————————————————

        I always get a laugh out of this. Like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman weren’t Hall of Fame players, and Horace Grant was chopped liver.

      • badge3832 - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        The 1967 76ers had 4 Hall of Famers:
        Chamberlain, Walker, Greer, Cunningham.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        asimonetti88 wrote I always get a laugh out of this. Like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman weren’t Hall of Fame players, and Horace Grant was chopped liver.

        Agreed. Pretty obvious that sportsfan18 was too young to remember watching Jordan’s Bulls, and he just assumes Pippen, Grant, and Rodman were role players because they didn’t score 30 points per game.

      • estamalbob - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        Rick Barry and the Golden State Warriors in 74-75. But the game was unquestionably different back then. It couldn’t happen today, or LeBron would have a ring from his days in Cleveland.

    • moseskkim - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      Any? how about just this team? what if he had an average point guard that can help the team get easy buckets? (dont tell me felton is average.. with the plethora of good/talented pg’s he is below average). what if he had players on his team that can shoot? (no iman cant shoot, jr is a bipolar shooter, etc) what if he had a bench that can help score and defend? the only solid player that any other team would want is tyson chandler and hardaway jr. i respect his game and defense. melo is the easy scapegoat. with a similarly talented team last year, they won a lot of games. melo can be a #1 and the team can be good. its just his #3-#12 SUCK! youre paying almost 33 million for amare and bargs. how is melo to be blamed for anything? i honestly think lebron or durant could make the knicks a top team in the east. but how many lebrons and durants are there? melo is an amazing player/talent and if anything, the front office should be blamed.

      • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        I hear what you are saying, but as the “star” of the team, Melo has to shoulder the blame. The Knicks teams of the last two years remind me a little of the Mavericks team that won it all in 11. The reason it worked for the Mavs and not the Knicks (outside of the obvious of Chandler/Kidd now being older) is that Dirk reduced his amount of shots, rebounded the ball, and relied a little more on his teammates.

        If Melo ever wants to get that ring, he needs to become a better “team” player. Get his teammates involved a little more, rebound the ball a little more and then, just maybe, he’ll get a chance at a ring, or at least a trip to the finals.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      You could say that of Kobe or Allen Iverson, but there are ways to make it work.

    • bougin89 - Feb 5, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      “All 6 of the Bulls championships when Jordan was FAR and away the number 1 player on the team.

      Yes they had Scottie, but there was, well quite a gap between Scottie and MJ.”

      Pippen in his prime was certainly a #1.

  2. zerole00 - Feb 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Same owner, essentially same roster, and a rotating line of coaches (from D’Antoni to Woodson, to whoever else).

    Wanna guess which two are the more probable culprits?

  3. davidly - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Any team “could fire” their coach by the trade deadline.

  4. cantonbound13 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Offer Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich $15 million a year to become President of the team & rebuild.

    • stayhigh_247 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      Well Pop won’t be leaving his kingdom in Texas and Phil has never run a front office so what evidence do we have he knows what he’s doing? The Knicks need someone like Masai Ujiri (Toronto) who has a vision and is savy enough to make it happen, not guys used to doing things the old way, thats what got the Knicks in this mess their in now.

      • bkbell3 - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:25 AM

        What has Masai won? He get’s credit for the knicks trade but felton is back with the knicks, Galanari is out for this season and missed much of last season and much of his time with the knicks and he was supposed to be the big get. Chandler,who i like, went to china and then has been hurt a lot and mozgof is just now getting off the bench cause their center is hurt.And denver is as of today out of the playoffs. So they basicly got a good small foward in chandler and a couple of picks for a top 5 player and maybe the most or second most versital scorer in the league.

      • thehouseofho - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        What has Masai won? He get’s credit for the knicks trade but felton is back with the knicks, Galanari is out for this season and missed much of last season and much of his time with the knicks and he was supposed to be the big get. Chandler,who i like, went to china and then has been hurt a lot and mozgof is just now getting off the bench cause their center is hurt.And denver is as of today out of the playoffs. So they basicly got a good small foward in chandler and a couple of picks for a top 5 player and maybe the most or second most versital scorer in the league.

        =====

        The Nuggets, being in the Western Conference, have played a much harder schedule than the Knicks and still have the better record. In the Eastern Conference, they would be in the playoffs.

        You made a couple of good points about one of the many moves Ujiri made as GM, but you seem to have forgotten that the trade isn’t complete yet because the Nuggets will be receiving the Knicks’ first round pick this year — one of the most loaded drafts in years.

        Then there’s also Ujiri trading Bargnani to the Knicks. Sure, the only player they have left from that trade is Novak, but that’s because they receive cap relief from buying out Camby’s contract and waiving Quentin Richardson’s non-guaranteed contract. He also got the Knicks’ first round pick in 2016.

        Masai may not have won anything yet, but in his dealings with the Knicks, he’s also put Denver and Toronto in a better long-term situation than the Knicks.

    • prosourcetalk - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      The Knicks had a solid president in Donnie Walsh, and they kicked him to the curb as soon as he was done cleaning up Isiah’s mess.

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Typical stupid pea brain loser comment form cantonpeabrain.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        form = from
        cantonbound = piece of sh+t

  5. stayhigh_247 - Feb 5, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    Ahh the perils of coaching / playing in NY where everybody has their fingers on the panic button.Firing Woody is not going to keep Melo from leaving if thats his plan and it won’t get them a ring this year either.A team is only as good as its parts, the Knicks are where they should be. Smart drafting is the only way to fix bad NBA teams and that takes time, and a plan. You can’t just throw boatloads of money at a problem and hope it works i.e the Yankees. I think Melo should bolt and they should get what they can for whats left. Keep Hardaway jr, Shump and go from there.In a few years they could have a good young nucleus just as Miami and Indiana are started to fall off, or are losing guys to the salary cap. Its been over 30 years, Knicks fans can wait awhile longer for a better product.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Didn’t the Knicks spend a decade stinking and drafting to no avail? It’s the “smart” drafting part that stumps them. At least with the “throw money at it” approach they finished last year 54-28 – the first time they won that many games since the 90′s. I think the problem is that they threw money at the wrong people, starting with D’Antoni and Woodson.

  6. adoombray - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    don’t let melo pick the next coach.

    (like that will happen. he will handpick the next coach like CP3 did for the clippers)

  7. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 5, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    poor guy never stood a chance with this roster and GM..decent coach…crappy situation

    • sonnysuave - Feb 5, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      There are teams with WORSE rosters… Bobcats, Hawks, Wizards, Bulls to name a few in the East… with BETTER records! Woodson just plain sux. He throws his players under the bus all the time…and makes excuses left n rite.

      Bulls have NO superstars… but yet, they still win games. Thibodeau still makes his team believe they have what it takes to win.. and you’ll never see him make excuses or blame anybody.

      • ranfan12 - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

        Couple of those teams overhauled their coaches too to be honest

  8. cruzan80 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I look at the Knicks current situation very similarly to the 2006-2007 Lakers. That starting five was Smush Parker, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom & Andrew Bynum. They finished 42-40 & were ousted in the 1st round. That summer Kobe asked to be traded on Steven A. Smith’s radio show. All the “experts” were letting us know how much Kobe needed Shaq & couldn’t win without him. Everyone & their mamma had Kobe going to the Chicago Bulls for Noah & Deng to join their then young rookie star PG Derrick Rose. Instead, the Lakers signed Derek Fisher & traded a bag of peanuts for who was at the time arguably the best PF in the game…Pau Gasol. They miraculously (insertion of sarcasm) go 57-25 eventually losing to the near perfectly assembled Boston Celtics in the Finals.

    My point? If you have a stud (& yes Melo is a stud whether his haters wanna admit it or not) on your team….in his prime.…you keep him. The problem in NY is not Melo or Woodson. Talent is what wins in this league (as Kobe pointed out in an interview just last month) & it’s the GM’s job to build a team with enough talent to compete for the championship…period. Danny Ainge had Peirce & scrubs…he traded for KG & Allen. Pat Riley had Wade & scrubs…he signed LBJ & Bosh. Carmelo Anthony & Mike Woodson don’t scout players, draft players or trade for players. Like Mitch Kupchak did in the summer of 2007, Steve Mills needs to get to work & start earning his paycheck.

    • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      I agree with you, but “talent” isn’t the only thing that works. When the Knicks signed Amare, traded for Anthony and signed Chandler, there is nobody that said this team didn’t have the “talent” to win. The problem is the cohesion of the team. From the defensive and offensive systems, to the way the players play together. The reason that Lakers team did so well, outside of its talent, was that Kobe did more of the little things to win games. That’s what Carmelo needs to do. Dirk did it in 11. KG/PP/Allen did it in 07. Heck, even Wade/Bosh/Lebron have done it.

      • cruzan80 - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        All those other teams you used to compare are I finnally more talented than what has been on the Knicks roster since Melo arrived & Amare hasn’t been healthy ever since he got there either. These are not issues that Kobe, Dirk, Pierce or Wade has ever had to face in recount to their championship seasons. Did the lakers win it when Bynum was out in 2008? They did the following year though…with a healthy Bynum. Did the celtics win it when KG was out…? Even with a healthy Pierce, Rondo & Allen…they lost to Howard’s Magic. It’s easy to share the ball more when the players your sharing it with aren’t scrubs. …it’s basketball….my 5 vs your 5. Melos “5″ is currently hot garbage compared to other star players teammates. If you don’t agree with that….tell me this……if your the GM of the Heat, Thunder or Pacers….which one of your all stars are you willing to trade for a Knick not named Carmelo Anthony……..?

      • coachjac30 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        you absolutely need stars, I’m not disputing that. I think you are somewhat overselling the talent of those teams when you dismiss the ability of their star players to make everyone around them better. We now have the good fortune to be able to look backwards, but at the time the Knicks signed Chandler, Amare, JR, Kidd, etc…the singular talent that was each player was on par with those other teams if not better.

        Nobody can honestly say that prior to last season they would have rather had Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill, Lance Stephenson over Carmelo, JR, Kidd, Chandler, Amare, Felton…the knicks clearly had more “talent” but the Pacers bought into the system and played as 1 unit, made up of 5 men. The knicks play at 5 units made up of 1 man, that’s the big difference.

        Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Anderson….are they better than Felton, Chandler, JR? No, but because of the system they play in, and the stars on that team making them better, they have become household names.

        Melo does not make his teammates better. He shoots too much, he doesn’t do enough of the little things. Now, this years team, absolutely sucks, I won’t dispute that. My point is that if Melo continues to play the way he plays, he will never win a championship. He is clearly a superstar player, but he needs to do the things that superstars need to do to win championships.

        Look at Jordan, when he first came into the league he averaged 30 a game and his team never made it out of the first round until he learned to trust his teammates and the system. I would say it worked out pretty well for him.

        The Spurs didn’t have as much “singular” talent as you say is needed to win it last year, but they bought into the system, played as a team, and were a Ray Allen travel or some made free throws away from winning a championship.

  9. ranfan12 - Feb 5, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Too bad you can’t fire players

  10. nokoolaidcowboy - Feb 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Carmelo Anthony will not be thought of historically as a NY Knick when this is all over. Therefore, he is not the answer. This team needs to find lightning in a bottle, and that’ll only happen if they bring someone into thus organization with a knack for evaluating talent. Then the talent needs grooming and the team will need building. It’s a process that has to unfold.

    Stop trying to trade your way into the playoffs!

  11. jadaruler - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Bulls are might have less talent but they have a high IQ team. The Knicks are a team with decent talent with dumb players.

  12. miamatt - Feb 5, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Rumor has it that Mike Woodson’s goatee is going to be named interim head coach.

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