Knicks coach Woodson says he’s not worried about job security, won’t look over his shoulder

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The Knicks are off to a slow 1-3 start to the season, and despite the very legitimate reasons for the early losses, a team that finished second in the Eastern Conference a year ago isn’t expected to be patient while things sort themselves out.

Mike Woodson is finding his seat to be a bit warm just a couple of weeks into the season, and the loss of defensive anchor Tyson Chandler due to injury isn’t likely to help New York in turning things around anytime soon.

Just four games in, however, Woodson can’t possibly begin to wonder if his job is in jeopardy if he’s going to be able to ride out this early season storm. He said as much during an interview with ESPN Radio on Wednesday, and added that he wouldn’t be coaching with one eye looking over his shoulder.

From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:

“I have been at this thing 30 years,” Woodson said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 radio. “And the one thing I never and will never do is look over my shoulder. I won’t do that. I got too much pride for that. I think what we have done here for the last few years, we made some major ground and some major steps.

“But this is a different year. That team that played and won 54 games is not here. It is my job as a coach to get this team to gel and play at a high level. If I got to always look over my shoulders, then I can’t do my job, so that is why I never do that. Try to look ahead, that is what is staring at me right now.”

Any struggles to this point aren’t exactly Woodson’s fault, as he’s largely been playing the hand he’s been dealt. Starting Andrea Bargnani in favor of Metta World Peace is a decision worth questioning, but the starting lineup hasn’t been the sole contributing factor in the team’s struggles.

Carmelo Anthony has been tentative in fourth quarters, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin haven’t been physically ready to play, and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith hasn’t yet seen the court while still serving his five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Very little of what’s going on in New York right now is Woodson’s fault, and he knows that just four games into the season. Coaching in New York comes with it a very intense spotlight, but Woodson’s straightforward approach and even temperament is well-suited to handle that challenge.

Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge nails three from one knee during warmups (VIDEO)

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Take that Stephen Curry.

Gregg Popovich would pull him so fast he’d look like a fidget spinner if he tried this in a game, but during warmups before Game 4 Monday night LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down a deep three from one knee.

If Aldridge is taking a lot of threes that’s not a good sign for the Spurs, but we’ll see if he can have a big night and keep the Spurs alive in this series.

Stephen Curry drains shots from near half court during warmups like they’re layups

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Stephen Curry‘s pregame warmups draw people into the arena early, it’s a show in and of itself.

Before Game 4 Monday night, Curry was taking a couple shots from the center-court logo. And draining them. Like layups. Because he can.

We’ll see if he can put on that kind of show when the game tips off.

Gregg Popovich makes it official: No Kawhi Leonard for Game 4

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This was expected. It still sucks to hear.

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 4 vs. the Warriors Monday night.

Leonard has sprained his left ankle in Game 5 against the Rockets and sat out Game 6 of that series (a San Antonio win), then returned for Game 1 against the Warriors. He re-injured his ankle twice in that game — once stepping on David Lee‘s foot, once when Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper and took away his landing space. Leonard left that game with his team up 23 points, but the Warriors rallied back to win Game 1 and have controlled the series ever since. Leonard has not returned to the series.

San Antonio will play with pride on Monday night, but it may not be enough. You can bet the Warriors were reminded all day about taking their foot off the gas after what happened with Cleveland Sunday.

Report: Orlando hires Toronto GM Jeff Weltman to be president of basketball operations

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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri is the head of basketball operations and the guy with the hammer on deals. Jeff Weltman was his right-hand man and team GM.

Make that was his right-hand man, Weltman has been hired by the Orlando Magic to run its basketball operations, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic have hired Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, league sources told The Vertical.

Weltman met with Orlando CEO Alex Martins and ownership on Monday, finalizing a five-year deal, league sources said.

Orlando officials had been intrigued with Cleveland GM David Griffin, but moved steadily toward Weltman as they became further engaged with his candidacy in recent weeks, league sources said. Weltman has been deeply involved in every aspect of the Raptors’ front office under president Masai Ujiri as Toronto became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

Making a move now is smart in this sense: The Magic have the No. 5 pick in this draft and would want the guy making the big picture decisions about this roster on board to make this selection.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. There were questions about the culture and a lack of accountability, and that blame ultimately fell on GM Rob Hennigan and he was let go. Frank Vogel is locked in as

Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, so how well Weltman and Vogel work together — and share a vision — will be key.

Weltman is well-respected around the league. He spent five seasons as an assistant GM in Milwaukee, and has been with the Raptors since 2013 as that team has risen up the Eastern Conference standings and had its best run in franchise history. He also has worked with the Clippers and in Denver. He’s been one of those guys expected to get a chance in the big chair for a few years now.

He’s got it, and it’s an interesting challenge in Orlando.