Mike Woodson steps into inferno: New York Knicks’ coach

If Mike Woodson thought he had headache before, he just inherited top job from Mike D'Antoni (right). (AP photo)

If Mike Woodson thought he had headache before, he just inherited top job from Mike D'Antoni (right). (AP photo)

Mike Woodson believes he never was treated fairly by the Hawks or fully appreciated by the fans or the media in Atlanta (me in particular, unless I just misread the glares and/or strings of expletives any time I said hello).

Well, if Woodson wanted another chance to prove himself as an NBA head coach, he just got it. He has been handed the keys to CarmeloGate, Linsanity and everything else that goes with being the head coach of the New York Knicks (at least on an interim basis). Yahoo! Sports was the first of multiple outlets to report Wednesday that Mike D’Antoni has “resigned” as the Knicks’ head coach and will be replaced by Woodson, who was an assistant on his staff.

It may be only a short-term position for Woodson. (What isn’t short-term in New York?) But at the very least, he presumably will coach the team for the remainder of the regular season and in the playoffs, should the Knicks make it. They have lost six straight to fall to 18-24 and entered Wednesday tied with Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

There had been several reports of a feud between D’Antoni and Carmelo Anthony, whose recent return to the lineup coincided with the team’s skid. Anthony denied a New York Post report that he wants to be traded before Thursday’s deadline, writing on his Twitter feed, “Alright, enough with all this trade talk. It’s making me sick to my stomach to hear that I wanna leave NY.”

Next stop for him: The “Iso-Melo” offense?

About Woodson: This will be severe test of his ability to pull a clearly dysfunctional bunch together. The Knicks aren’t short of talent — Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert — even if there’s no indication that all of the pieces can function together.

With the Hawks, Woodson’s won-loss record improved every season over six years, from 13-69 in 2004-05 to 53-29 in 2009-10. But he was fired after the last season because of the team’s inability to win a single second-round playoff game. (His replacement, Larry Drew, coached the Hawks to a first-round mild upset of Orlando last season and took the Chicago Bulls to six games in the second round.)

Woodson is not foreign to personality conflicts in the locker room. He and Josh Smith banged heads often. The Hawks’ locker room wasn’t always a close-knit bunch. But that pales in comparison to the Knicks’ situation.

Woodson also now will be operating in the spotlight of the New York media. I mean, if he thought I was hard to deal with, good luck in Gotham. But he wanted another chance, and now he has gotten it.

By Jeff Schultz

103 comments Add your comment

jjm

March 14th, 2012
3:18 pm

Good now trade joe for melo we know woody can’t coach boneheaded players so send joe quiet self to the knicks

rivercard

March 14th, 2012
3:18 pm

How bad must things be for anyone to think Mike Woodson is a viable alternative? One of the five worst coaches I Ihave ever seen in any sport.

Jeremy – the bench. Get used to it.

Steve

March 14th, 2012
3:19 pm

in other words, be careful what you wish for, because you may just get it?

Burton

March 14th, 2012
3:19 pm

1st….woody has his hands full…

Hey Burton

March 14th, 2012
3:21 pm

You’re not first, but you are a tool.

NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW THEY BURNT OFF

March 14th, 2012
3:21 pm

Any word if he will shave off his eyebrows again since he is returning to a head coaching position?

Rodney

March 14th, 2012
3:24 pm

I don’t know. The Hawks got better every year with Woodson. The numbers don’t lie

PMC

March 14th, 2012
3:25 pm

Good luck getting those guys to play defense coach Woody!

Jeff B

March 14th, 2012
3:28 pm

Anyone who says that Mike Woodson is “one of the worst” coaches has forgotten one thing…

… damn I guess I forgot what that “one thing” was too!

hawksfan

March 14th, 2012
3:30 pm

wow @Jeff Schulz, you’re a hater

bigdave

March 14th, 2012
3:32 pm

of course the obvious; iso melo.

tyger

March 14th, 2012
3:33 pm

TMac’s trade value…

A hood ornament for a used 20″ rim?

Markus H.

March 14th, 2012
3:33 pm

All NY Knicks fans know what this means. Next year our coach will be Phil Jackson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Debdoes

March 14th, 2012
3:34 pm

Link says ‘Kincks…not Knicks’! ha…it’s all the same.

Jeff Schultz

March 14th, 2012
3:35 pm

Rodney — Yes, the win total did improve every year, although in fairness we should add so did the talent. Those early teams were with stripped-down, post-salary slash roster. In the end, criteria for improvement became the postseason, not the regular season.

Jeff Schultz

March 14th, 2012
3:37 pm

Hawksfan: The truth is, I only hate one thing: The term “hater.” Possibly the stupidest expression ever.

GoldJacket

March 14th, 2012
3:37 pm

D’Antoni to Atlanta? Get the offense going?

RecentWreck

March 14th, 2012
3:37 pm

Unfortunately Woodson will never be an elite coach because he can’t get elite talent to play together in any kind of fashion. Prediction: NY will not be kind to him

Jeff Schultz

March 14th, 2012
3:38 pm

Markhus H. — I never say never anymore. But I think Phil really is retired for good.

Melo Drama

March 14th, 2012
3:42 pm

If D’Antoni would have benched Carmelo for not playing within the offense, this team could have done something.

Carmelo’s a cancer.

Not a good week for Melos.

Smartguy

March 14th, 2012
3:44 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha ha hah!

Mr. Phil

March 14th, 2012
3:44 pm

Jeff…we know how much woody valued Joe (overvalued?). Is now the time for JJ to become a Knick (please let it be).

LawDawg

March 14th, 2012
3:46 pm

I still think it is amazing that someone thought “You know what would be a winning formula to get NY back to the big time? Amare and Carmello and a bunch of scrubs.”

LawDawg

March 14th, 2012
3:46 pm

tyger: you don’t really understand how cars work, do you?

Heisenberg

March 14th, 2012
3:46 pm

PJax would not coach this roster even if he were interested in coming back. Remember first he had MJ, then Kobe. Why would he want to come back and risk tarnishing his legacy for anything less than a stacked roster?

PMC

March 14th, 2012
3:48 pm

Remember when Knicks fans were excited about Melo?

Irishmafia

March 14th, 2012
3:49 pm

OMG the Knicks have hit rock bottom ! WOODSON ??????? the same franchise that hired the freak isiah Thomas? What a shame that a once proud franchise has been reduced to scraping the very bottom of the barrell !Woodson couldn’t even make it with the Hawks –THE HAWKS !!! imagine what that loser Dolan must be thinking to hire Woodson, what Richard simmons wasn’t available?

Jeff Schultz

March 14th, 2012
3:50 pm

Mr. Phil — Joe actually had strong ties to D’Antoni (together in Phoenix).

falCANS

March 14th, 2012
3:50 pm

Why so much hate towards Woody??? Only knock on him was the players tuned him out after 7 o 8 years. which is to b expected

english101

March 14th, 2012
3:52 pm

Hey people! Why don’t you try getting your grammar right before adding your two cents worth. Not all, but some of you…bunch of idiots!

Mr. Phil

March 14th, 2012
3:54 pm

@Jeff…True. Guess I am reaching at straws at this point. Just need some reason to think Number 2 might be leaving.

LawDawg

March 14th, 2012
3:58 pm

english101: You might consider taking your own advice.

pop

March 14th, 2012
3:58 pm

Jeremy Lin to pass the ball to MELO. MELO need to SHOOT or Make it to NBA FINALS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUp1k03_PsQ

JB

March 14th, 2012
3:59 pm

Has anyone watched an NBA game lately? They are wasting money having coach’s. It’s just a school yard jail break. Hire a personal assistant for every player at say 40K a year to tell them were to go and where to be etc. Coaching? You’re kidding right?

Joe

March 14th, 2012
4:01 pm

Trade deadline tomorrow. JJ for Melo…lets reunite and make it feel so good!

LawDawg

March 14th, 2012
4:05 pm

Here is your post in proper English, english101:

Everyone: You may want to ensure that your posts are grammatically correct before pressing “Submit Comment” because when I read posts containing grammatical errors, I dismiss the content of said posts. As a group you are largely, though not universally, ignorant.

Runner-

March 14th, 2012
4:06 pm

Nice piece Jeff, time for that Iso-Melo offense to fail their way out of the top 8 spots!! Woodson has no idea how to coach lol, any success will be due to that All-Star lineup they have and not Woody.

Markus H.

March 14th, 2012
4:07 pm

Phil is coming. He wants too come. There’s nothing wrong with Carmelo or the Knicks. Melo just needs a non tolerance coach who will take charge and control of that team. And thats what Phil will bring!

pop

March 14th, 2012
4:09 pm

MELO. you have choice. Win Championship “RING” or “LOSE IT”.

You better shoot Three Pointers or Dunk on NBA FINALS if jeremy passed the ball.

Live and in Color

March 14th, 2012
4:09 pm

Who….Jeff, I wonder if you have the same kind of venom for Mike Smith???? Woody was not Pop or Phil Jax, but he took a bunch of under devoloped kids with a lot of talent and made them a viable NBA team. Yeah, he did not make the finals, but neither has 20 plus other teams…He did his thing, Now let me see you p***s on Mike Smith and the Falcons the same way you did on Woody….

alright, here we go ISO-MELO

March 14th, 2012
4:10 pm

I’m going to go ahead and set the over/under at 8 1/2 for the number of games it takes the rest of the team to get pissed at the new ISO-MELO offense.

JLM

March 14th, 2012
4:13 pm

Congrats Woody! You were a great coach. You made improvements each year. I love the Hawks, but also know they are not a legitiamate contender for a championship. If so, they would have made appropriate player personnel changes to give the team a shot.

Heisenberg

March 14th, 2012
4:13 pm

Has anyone noticed that Denver is playing better with Melo than with him? And how well Knicks were plaing before he returned from injury compared to since? I would not want him on Hawks even as a minimum salary free agent. Let alone trading an asset for him. Advise to Woody…. every Knicks box score should show DNPCD next to Melo’s name.

Darryl

March 14th, 2012
4:16 pm

It just goes to show the Knicks didn’t have a game plan to replace D’Antoni. There should’ve been a quality coach waiting in the wings….hint…hint…Phil Jackson.

Tokyo Tom

March 14th, 2012
4:16 pm

JB- you must have missed last night’s game vs Denver- 2 great plays at the end of the game (one was even drawn up by LD! if only Zaza had made that basket…) Woodson was a good coach of veteran players, not so good with young ones: only Horford (4 years of college ball) and J Smoove (chip on shoulder) panned out. Had Hawks drafted C Paul he would have washed out of the league by now! Good luck in NYC Woody- you will need it!

Tokyo Tom

March 14th, 2012
4:17 pm

Is it just me- or did Woody start looking like Mr. Potatohead after he went with the bald look?

Heisenberg

March 14th, 2012
4:18 pm

correction : without melo

Top Dog

March 14th, 2012
4:19 pm

Mike Woodson better make to NBA FINALS.

Whopper Dawg

March 14th, 2012
4:28 pm

Woodson as NY HC. Now that is funny right there, I don’t care who you are.

JohnC

March 14th, 2012
4:32 pm

I think the Knicks will be putting a call into Lexington, Kentucky pretty soon.