We knew this was coming, but now it’s official: coach Mike Woodson and his staff have been let go from the New York Knicks effective this morning. The Knicks struggled to a 37-45 record after winning 54 games last season on their way to the conference semifinals. Woodson’s contract ran through next season, so he’ll recoup the $3.4 million he was owed for the 2014-15 season, but he’s out as Knicks coach and the search for his replacement officially kicks off after months of speculation.
April 21-Phil Jackson announced today that the team's coaching staff have been relieved of their duties, effective immediately.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 21, 2014
The 56-year-old Woodson had been on the hot seat all season as the Knicks underperformed throughout the year following owner James Dolan‘s preseason pronouncement he expected his team to compete for a title. While most observers thought that sort of bravado was nonsense, the Knicks didn’t even make the playoffs in a awful Eastern Conference where the Hawks, a sub .500 team, clinched in front of them.
With Carmelo Anthony‘s impending free agency and new head of basketball operations Phil Jackson looking to remake the franchise, Woodson’s time in New York was dwindling the moment the 2013-14 season ended. ‘Melo offered support to Woodson after the season, but Woody’s departure isn’t likely to sway Carmelo’s free agency decision after he opts out of the final year of his contract on July 1. Part of the strategy by Phil Jackson might be to have a coach and a plan in place to make a more formal pitch to Melo as he’s being courted by other teams in July. Remember, the Knicks can offer ‘Melo an extra year and $33 million more than any other franchise, but — personnel-wise — they are not the most ideal spot to win a title, something Anthony has increasingly highlighted as his primary motivation.
It has been reported that Steve Kerr, a former player under Jackson with the Bulls, was expecting a coaching offer, which is likely forthcoming after the firing. But Frank Isola at the New York Daily News hears that Kerr will fulfill the rest of his TNT Contract, which carries him through the Conference Finals, and hear offers from other teams before making a final decision on the Knicks.
Who will be the next coach of the New York Knicks?
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