The New York Knicks announced on Monday that head coach Mike Woodson has been relieved of his coaching duties in addition to the rest of the coaching staff.
Team president Phil Jackson made the announcement Monday morning. From the Knicks:
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.
The widely-thought-of leader for the job is former Chicago Bull and San Antonio Spur Steve Kerr, who played under Jackson on the Jordan teams. Kerr was last a GM with Phoenix before returning to color commentary for TNT. He's admitted to an interest in coaching recently.
Woodson took over for Mike D'Antoni in 2011 after clashing with jewel-in-the-Knicks'-crown Carmelo Anthony. Woodson's laissez-faire offensive approach to Anthony and J.R. Smith's isolation tendencies made him popular with the team, and the Knicks won 57 games in 2013. But they eventually fell in the second round to Indiana as their predictable offense and lack of playmakers was exposed by the Pacers.
This season was a disaster for the Knicks. After signing J.R. Smith to an extension, he then proceeded to have knee surgery, and was suspended the first four games of the season. Without Jason Kidd (who retired and went on to become coach of the Nets) around, the ball movement that opened the floor for the Knicks died, and they struggled almost immediately. A trade for Andrea Bargnani provided a decent offensive player who still was a nightmare on the defensive end. Chemistry was a nightmare. Injuries took care of the rest.
Woodson's job security had been under speculation for most of the year, with rumors of unrest going back to December. The Knicks finished 37-45, one game out of the final playoff spot in the East. Their salary committments came in at over $88 million reportedly.