As New York tries desperately to close the season strongly enough to grab a playoff spot in the dismal Eastern Conference, the thoughts of many of the team’s closest observers are already on the future, and what decisions Jackson will make to improve the Knicks chances in the seasons to come.
Carmelo Anthony has the option of watching it all play out somewhere else if he chooses to leave in free agency, but he seemed initially excited about the hiring of Jackson.
“I’m a chess player, so that was a power move right there,” Carmelo Anthony said. “So now we’re going to see what’s the next move. But that was a great power move.” …
“Phil knows what to do and how to build teams and how to win, that’s the most important thing,” Anthony said. “When you know how to win, whether you’re a coach or whether you’re in the front office, that stands out.”
While Anthony seems optimistic, the sentiment wasn’t exactly the same with the team’s head coach, Mike Woodson.
Woodson said he did not feel he had anything to prove to Jackson over these final games. He took responsibility for the Knicks’ ups and downs, but made sure to note that the team was still contending for a playoff spot. Change, he implied, is inevitable. His fate is out of his hands.
“It’s basketball, teams try to reshape, they go through changes,” Woodson said. “This is no different. You bring in a great basketball mind into your organization and, eventually, it will be reshaped.”
He added, “How and who and when? Only time will tell.”
Woodson is almost certainly done in New York after this season, and besides the lack of a viable candidate that could coach the team in the interim if he had been fired along the way, it’s believed he’s been retained in order to have a needed change at the ready to appease Anthony in the offseason when the time comes.
It appears, though, that by bringing in Jackson, the Knicks have already begun that process.