On Monday morning, Phil Jackson and the Knicks announced that Mike Woodson and his staff have been relieved of their duties, effective immediately.
Such a decision doesn’t come as a surprise by any means. The team’s continued struggles were frustrateingly evident all season long, and Woodson (without Jason Kidd tagging along as an honorary associate head coach like in the season prior) is largely to blame for that. Though the Knicks were given a lifeline of sorts when other teams in the East struggled, Woodson’s squad still couldn’t capitalize.
The conference’s final playoff spot was theirs for the taking, but despite going 16-5 over the team’s final handful of games, Woodson couldn’t lead New York to key victories when it mattered most. Losses to teams like the Cavaliers and Lakers in the season’s remaining weeks ultimately sealed the Knicks’ fate, evaporating any hope the team had left.
Should the team’s impressive last couple of months have been punctuated by a playoff berth, perhaps there would be some consideration to be had for Woodson to remain on board and receive a stay of execution through next season to prove himself yet again. That said, there’s no denying that New York’s ousting from the playoffs, coupled with Woodson’s refusal to meet with Jackson recently, led to his ultimate dismissal.
Thus, his firing comes as no surprise. There’s no question as to why it occurred.
Instead, a question amongst the Knicks’ most faithful and loyal fans quickly surrounded longtime Knickerbocker big man and subsequent coach Herb Williams. Will the man who previously donned number 32 be back representing the orange and blue next season?
Williams has served under six head coaches over the last thirteen seasons, and has previously been held onto (and otherwise not dismissed) by the Knicks despite the firings of other head coaches and their staffs.
As fate would have it, however, Williams was in fact let go along with Woodson’s other assistants on Monday morning.
But according to the New York Post, it appears to be a sensible possibility that the legacy Knick will return next season in some capacity. Jackson and the team’s brass are likely to encourage any forthcoming head coach to hire Williams once again.
In any event, change has come, and it’s by no means a bad thing.