In a surprise to nobody, the Knicks have fired Mike Woodson.
The team made the announcement Monday morning. Not only did Woodson lead New York to a disappointing season that ended short of the playoffs, the Knicks hired Phil Jackson as their president, and he’ll surely want to hire his own coach. So, this writing has been on the wall for a while.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff,” Jackson said in a released statement. “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.”
The entire assistant coaching staff was let go as well.
By all accounts, Steve Kerr is set to become the Knicks’ next coach. He lacks coaching experience, but he’s well-versed in Jackson’s desired triangle system. Together, they could help turn around the Knicks, though it’s unclear exactly how involved Jackson will be.
Woodson helped the Hawks rise through the Eastern Conference before guiding New York to its best season in years last season. He finishes with a 109-79 record in New York, the best winning percentage by a Knicks coach since Jeff Van Gundy.
I suspect Woodson’s head-coaching career is not over. For all his head-scratching decisions and allegiances, maybe he just needs a fresh start with a new roster.
The Knicks could use a fresh start, too, but their roster full of hefty contracts will keep them from turning over too much. This, though, is at least a start in the right direction.