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Report: James Dolan told Knicks players everybody is safe for now

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

James Dolan apparently won't fire anyone any time soon. (USATSI)
James Dolan apparently won't fire anyone on the Knicks any time soon. (USATSI)

The New York Knicks were embarrassed on Christmas Day with a 29-point home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the way the Knicks' season has been going, it's been expected that a lack of turnaround in the team's on-court fortunes would lead to trades being made and coaches being fired. However, James Dolan reportedly assured the players on Thursday that trades and coaching changes weren't coming.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com is reporting that Dolan met with players before practice on Thursday and asked them to back Mike Woodson 100 percent as they try to turn their season around. It's a surprising turn for a Knicks organization that probably needs some kind of change to get out of the malaise they've had all season long.

Knicks chairman James Dolan told New York players in a meeting Thursday that there are no trades or changes to the coaching staff forthcoming, ESPN.com has learned.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Dolan gathered the team before the first practice in the wake of New York's embarrassing 29-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Christmas Day largely in an attempt to hush the growing speculation about coach Mike Woodson's job security following the Knicks' 9-19 start.

The discussion came amid increasing signs the Knicks' effort and focus under Woodson is waning on top of the significant injury issues that have plagued them all season.

It's believed Dolan took the step in an attempt to persuade Woodson's players to band together and throw their full support behind the embattled coach to help dig New York out of the sizable hole it finds itself with essentially one-third of the regular season in the books, the sources said.

The Knicks are just 9-19 on the season and are tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference. They're currently 2.5 games out of the eighth seed, so it wouldn't take much of a turnaround in order to get them back into the playoff picture. The real issue is whether or not this team is prepared and capable of getting their collective act together to play more like what we saw last season when this team won 52 games.

They simply haven't played good defense or the type of offense we saw from them last season when they were third in the NBA in offensive efficiency. They currently possess the 19th best offense in the NBA and don't seem to have any kind of rhythm from one game to the next. With very little in assets to trade in order to sweeten the pot and bring in a difference-maker, the Knicks are sort of stuck with the situation they currently have. Health and continuity to the lineups could get this team going in the right direction, but they'd still have to find a way to wash the stink off from the early legs of this season.

How much longer will the Knicks be allowed to slide before James Dolan changes his tune with changes to the roster and coaching staff?

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