By now you’ve heard the Knicks extended Mike Woodson’s contract another 3 years (worth $10-12 million according to Isola) and replaced interim with future as they look towards Woodson to coach them past their 1st round eliminations over the last two seasons.
Personally, the fact Dolan and Grunwald didn’t even talk to Phil Jackson as every writer has mentioned, makes me uncomfortable. If they had been unable to entice Jackson, who still isn’t sure he wants to coach agian, they could have done a lot worse than the former Hawks head coach, Woodson. His selection isn’t sending us all into a tizzy with expectations, like the Zen Master’s hiring might have. I wanted that excitment, but regardless, Woodson was 18-6 to end the regular season and we did get that game 4, the first Knicks playoff victory in more than a decade; although, their one-dimensional offense around ‘Melo is awful to watch and was easily thwarted by Miami. Some of those gripes fall on Woodson and his iso-heavy Melo preferences.
Here’s what some other New York writers had to say about the deal.
- I already mentioned Frank Isola at the New York Daily News
- Howard Beck at the New York Times where he’s tongue-in-cheek about Woodson’s recent change in reprensentaiton to CAA, the preferred agency for Knicks employees and one that’s not above the whims of Dolan and also represents Melo. It appears it’s gonna be Melo’s team on the executive level as well as on the court.
- One of my favorite
Knicks writer’s Seth, at Posting and Toasting wrote about his “qualms” with the move and they mirror some of the mine own from above (namely Jackson never getting a call, and the Knicks stagnant offense against Miami).
- Harvey Araton, the other guy that gets delivered to my grungy BK apt, wrote that the Knicks made the right move in going with Woodson over Jackson.
- Marc Berman in the Post explains why the Knicks didn’t even bother reaching out to Jackson (Woodson was just that impressive in his interview—really?).
- And Mike Vaccaro in the Post writes what we all know anyway: the pressure on Woodson to win will be higher than you’d think.
The specter of Phil Jackson still hangs heavy in the MSG raftors (as well as the Staples Center and the United Center), and you can be sure he’ll become less ethereal with every loss under Woodson’s watch. If you thought D’Antoni went through the ringer earlier this year, just think if Woodson gets under Melo’s skin at practice and he stops giving a shit like he did during much of D’Antoni’s time this sesason. Woodson doesn’t have the fall back position afforded D’Antoni that he never wanted ‘Melo brought in for his Marxist ball-rotation heavy offense (Jack McCallum should have talked more about early 20th century prole politics in Seven Seconds or Less :).
We’ll see if Woodson can handle the pressure and scrutiny. Many larger personalities have failed, so maybe his “company man” moniker will work?
ROBERT SABO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS