This isn’t good news for Knicks coach Mike Woodson. After a week of speculation Woody could be terminated this time next week, a source tells the New York Daily News, Knicks owner James Dolan met with Carmelo Anthony and another player following their loss Wednesday night to the Blazers. The meeting was to discuss the state of the team and whether a coaching change might be in order.
Per Frank Isola at the New York Daily News:
James Dolan’s visit to the Knicks’ locker room late Wednesday included a high-level meeting with Carmelo Anthony and at least one other player to discuss the state of the club and whether a coaching change is necessary, the Daily News has learned.
According to a team source, Dolan is obviously troubled by the Knicks’ 19-30 record and is contemplating removing head coach Mike Woodson. The Knick hierarchy is divided on whether Woodson has lost the locker room and the chairman of Madison Square Garden was wise to take the temperature of the franchise player. Dolan, though, also runs the risk of alienating Anthony if the public perception is that the All-Star forward, who is extremely sensitive to the notion that he is a “coach killer,” is at all responsible for running Woodson out of town.
Anthony seemed to suggest as much following Wednesday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers when he told reporters in response to the possibility of a coaching change or possible trades: “If something was to happen then it’s out of my hands.”
Anthony met with reporters before he was called into a meeting with Dolan.
“There may be players that have a problem with Woody and want to blame him but Carmelo isn’t one of them,” said a person close to Anthony. “If Carmelo has tuned out Woody or doesn’t want him as a coach, why did he score 62 points two weeks ago? Why was he player of the month in January?”
So Dolan met with Anthony Wednesday night, after he tried to remove himself from the dicey coaching situation by claiming it was out of his hands. It should be noted ‘Melo and Woodson share the same representation, Creative Artists Agency.
But there has been one Knicks star who hasn’t been afraid to criticize the coach’s decisions. 2012 DPOY Tyson Chandler has spoken publicly about the Knicks’ defensive lapses as a part of Woodson’s schemes, and the source Isola spoke with seemed to imply — by way of Tyson’s relationship with Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills — that if Woodson is ousted, it’s likely Chandler who’s to blame.
Tyson Chandler, on the other hand, has been outspoken in his criticism of Woodson and openly questioned Woodson’s defensive strategy following a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Martin Luther King Day. The Daily News previously reported that Chandler has grown close to Knicks president Steve Mills, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff. It is unclear if Chandler was the other player who met with Dolan on Wednesday.
“Tyson’s numbers are down and you guys in the media made him Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s nowhere near the player he was two years ago,” said the same source. “If you go back to the playoff series against Indiana, Tyson has struggled and he’s usually pointing the finger at Woody.”
A lot of our readers have expressed dismay that we discuss the Knicks as often as we do, but for a team that was outspoken about competing for a title this year, their 19-30 start to the season is a big story. How much of the blame for that start can be pinned on Woodson might go a long way towards explaining his future in New York.
But Isola brought up a salient point to close his piece that has to be in the back of Dolan’s mind if he chooses to let Woody go: “What the Knicks can’t afford, however, is to upset their star player. If Anthony is blamed for firing Woodson, he might eventually fire the Knicks.”
‘Melo is going to opt-out of his contract this summer to explore free agency, and even though the Knicks can offer him a fifth year and $30 million more than any other team, his desire to compete for a championship might trump the fiscal benefits of sticking around.
Regardless, the soap opera in Manhattan continues to end each episode with a cliffhanger.
Will the Knicks fire Mike Woodson before the year ends?
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