The reporters are out this Christmas reporting that either Jeff Van Gundy or Allan Houston will be the next New York Knicks head coach.
Some reporters utilize their pen with the power of a sword. When rumors like this start hitting the airwaves, it tells you one thing- Mike Woodson’s days as the Knicks’ coach are numbered.
According to the NY Daily News, “The word around Knicks camp is that Dolan wouldn’t hesitate to promote Alan Houston to head coach if the Knicks don’t turn things around sooner than later. Houston’s $100 million contract placed the Knicks in salary cap purgatory for years. Maybe having to coach this Knicks team would be his payback.”
This is the holiday season but the Grinch is alive and well in Manhattan and Brooklyn. One storied franchise is fighting to keep their coach, the other new franchise benching, or should we say de-benching, their top assistant coach.
For those that have followed my columns, let it be said, I like Woodson. He is a class guy, coming off a 54-win season. This year unfortunately the deck was stacked against him. This year he basically had no training camp with all his players intact.
Let’s go back in time via the ghost of Christmas past, as he takes us back to training camp.
Amar’e Stoudemire was out and then put on unheard of minutes restriction after a secret second knee surgery was announced. J.R. Smith was suspended, as well as recuperating from offseason surgery and missed camp as well as most exhibitions. Iman Shumpert was exiled and later it turned out was recovering from a second secret knee surgery.
Kenyon Martin’s ankle problems put him on the sidelines, without his approval or consent. Then he was put on severe minutes restrictions. Metta World Peace worked around ongoing knee problems and his minutes were restricted. Jeremy Tyler broke his leg and missed all of training camp.
At no time was a full team ever assembled. Once most players were back, Tyson Chandler, the backbone of the Knick defense, broke his leg.
Gone were the stability of Jason Kidd and the three-point shooting of Kidd, Steve Novak, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Copeland. This was a team constructed with no backup center, no pure point guard and no sniper type three point shooters. This was a flawed team and the Knicks knew it and it cost former general manager Glen Grunwald his job.
Then there were the distractions.
James Dolan wanted Shumpert traded for not participating in Vegas. Smith smoked himself to a five-game suspension. Chris Smith made the team, while preseason favorite Ike Diogu was cut. Diogu scored more points in one game than Chris did in Vegas and the entire preseason combined. Grunwald was fired. Steve Mills (who hired and testified for Isiah Thomas) was rehired.
Then the medical team imposed limitations the likes that have never been seen by any franchise in the history of the NBA.
If you tie a man’s hands, don’t ask him to knit you a sweater. Woodson was doomed from the day Grunwald (his Indiana teammate) was fired.
For all of the above let us not forget the circus that our leader Carmelo Anthony brought to town in regard to his contract. Each day a new story, “I’m in” “I’m out”, “I may stay”,” I may go”. “I love New York but Kobe needs me.” “I want to be recruited”
Dude, you were recruited. New York gave up top players for you and numerous draft picks. You wanted New York and we literally gave you the keys to the city.
When your leader says, reported by Chris Herring: Melo, on whether he’s embarrassed at tomorrow’s game being on nat’l TV: “We are the laughingstock of the league right now”
When your leader, your star, makes statements like that, the coach has lost the team. Although now inevitable losing Woodson will be felt by those around him. Those very players that let him down will miss this classy guy.
Yes, Woodson was off his game this year. The facts are simple, his defense can’t defend. His players don’t play with passion. His offense is simply offensive. And let’s not forget the infighting. Every night another player is yelling at another. It appears Woodson has lost this team and sometimes nice guys finish last. Woodson is a nice guy; he just coaches a bunch of spoiled rich kids.
So tonight and every night ahead from this day forward the Woodson countdown has begun. As fickle as Dolan is, he allowed this to happen. As Carmelo always gets his man, his way, the ball. Unfortunately for the good guys of the world, Woodson may not make it through the week and I assure you, he will be gone by year’s end, that’s a 100 percent guarantee and you read it here on FanSided first.
The ghost of Christmas future shows two potential new coaches- Houston and Van Gundy. Houston is a great guy, was a great talent, but Dolan need only look across the river at Kidd and realize you need an experienced coach to win in the NBA.
You need an experienced coach to manage the egos assembled at the Garden. Houston is a poor choice to coach this team, unless he is doing a babysitting job for Phil Jackson.
Now that would make some great gift and Christmas will return to the Garden.