Woodson still believes he’s right coach for Knicks
Mike Woodson won’t lobby to keep his job with the New York Knicks. He believes he’s already proven he deserves it.
Woodson is hoping to get an answer soon from new president Phil Jackson, who will have to decide if he wants to hire a new coach after the Knicks missed the playoffs.
Atlantic Division champions last season who thought they could contend for a title in 2013-14, the Knicks instead entered their season finale against Toronto on Wednesday with a 36-45 record.
”Unfortunately this year just didn’t go according to plan,” Woodson said before the game. ”So is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but again, I don’t make that decision. That’s got to come from the top.”
He said he and Jackson, who was hired last month, have had only little chats so far, but he expects the one about his future to come shortly. Jackson attended Wednesday’s game.
Despite this season’s failure, Woodson said he’s always felt that he’s ”the only guy for this job.”
”I’ve always said that and I don’t mean that in a braggadocios way,” Woodson said.
He had been proving it in his first 1-1/2 seasons in New York. He engineered an 18-6 finish to grab a playoff spot after replacing Mike D’Antoni late in the 2011-12 season, then led the Knicks to a 54-28 record last season that included their first division title since 1994.
New York then beat Boston in the first round of the playoffs, its first victory in a postseason series since 2000. General manager Steve Mills picked up the option for next season on Woodson’s contract on the eve of training camp, but speculation Woodson would be fired came quickly once the season started and the Knicks faltered.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan then talked to Jackson about coaching the team in December. Jackson declined, but agreed to take over the basketball operations department.
His first big decision is likely to be about Woodson, who is 108-79 with the Knicks.
”I feel good about what I do as a coach and I know the system works,” Woodson said. ”Unfortunately, this season we’ve had some bad luck, some bad breaks along the way. But hey, I can’t go back and get this season. If I could, I would.
”If they bring me back, I’m going to make damn sure that this doesn’t happen again next season.”
Woodson said he hasn’t asked Jackson for any clarity about his situation, nor has he thought about what he would do if the Knicks offered him another role within the organization.
”I think eventually, when that time comes, they’ll let me know what they want to do,” Woodson said.