J.R. Smith‘s attack on shoelaces has taught us the value of Crocs, and that’s the best thing that has come from the New York Knicks season thus far.
Clearly it has not been the season anyone inside or outside of the Knickerbocker organization had imagined in the beginning of the campaign. After suffering a 94-90 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Wednesday night, the Knicks stand at 19-30. They have already lost more games than last season and have shown no indication of coming out of their four-month downward spiral. As the All-Star break looms in the distance, there is only one question that needs answering. What are the Knicks thinking going into the trading deadline?
As rumored (basically all season), coach Mike Woodson could receive the boot by the trade deadline on Feb. 20.
For months, we’ve wondered what it was going to take to put Mike Woodson on the hot seat with the Knicks. He has been given countless chances to try and lead this talented group to the Promised Land, but lately it seems he has lost control of his team. You know what they say about a sinking ship? The rats desert the ship and the captain goes down with it, and coach Woodson may be on his last days afloat. On Tuesday, Knicks players were rushed out of the locker room after practice without talking to the media, an escape that can be construed as ominous and has brought up many questions about Woodson’s future. Left behind to explain the team’s latest round of troubles were Woodson and a pair of veterans, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Woodson has had a difficult time managing his higher profile players this season, namely J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire has been unhappy about his playtime all season and feels that he can contribute and help the struggling Knicks.
“I feel great … I am ready to play. But it’s up to him if he wants to play me or not. From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been limitations since the first week of the season…So we can’t keep saying limitations — that’s a coach’s decision at the end of the day. I talk to Coach all the time about it … He knows I am ready. He knows how hard I train. He watches me in the weight room and also on the basketball court. The whole training staff knows, the Knicks organization knows how hard I train,” said Stoudemire.
Earlier in the season, owner James Dolan stated that Mike Woodson would remain the coach and there would be no personnel changes this season. At that point the Knicks were 9-19 and I’m sure Dolan had the intention of the team leaving their losing days behind them and competing for a mid-playoff seeding. That has not been the case. The Knicks had seemingly turned a corner when they rattled off five straight victories in early January. Since then, they have lost seven of their last 11, including a three-game losing streak to almost entirely offset their previous stretch of winning.
Another reason for Woodson’s potential firing would be an effort to keep Carmelo Anthony in New York. Melo will undoubtedly not be too keen on missing the playoffs, and if this is the Knicks’ fate, he will certainly be looking for someone to blame. Woodson will be on the top of that list. The firing of Woodson and a collaboration on the next head coach could possible keep Anthony in the blue and orange, which is something the Knicks want. Although Dolan made it clear that no personnel changes would be made, he may want to alter his agenda to appease his superstar.
If Woodson is fired, the big problem is who to turn the team over to. There are a lot of politics involved in everything that goes on at MSG, and finding someone willing to take over and get this wreckage to shore could be difficult. Not so surprisingly, I doubt few coaches would be chomping at the bit to coach this group of big-ego and boisterous athletes.