Marc Berman of the New York Post seems fairly certain that James Dolan is on the verge of signing Mike Woodson to some kind of multi-year contract with the Knicks. We can then remove the “interim” from Mike’s title. I wish I was as sure of this as Berman is, and I suspect Woodson is, too.
Why, exactly, has it taken Dolan so long to come to the conclusion – and that’s assuming he’s come to the conclusion – that a coach who got a team that was dead in the water to go 18-6 over the final 24 games is the right man to start the next season? I don’t know, but it probably has nothing to do with any serious move Dolan might have been making on Phil Jackson – or, for that matter, John Calipari, who probably should have been tested for drug use had he decided to leave his national championship machine in Kentucky for the New York grind house.
As Bob Raissman put it in the Daily News, “The speculation on
Phil Jackson coming here to replace interim coach Mike Woodson has
already begun. We keep hearing ‘I talked to someone who talked to Phil a
couple of months ago.’ The speculation revolved around stuff like: Jax
is just itching to return to where it all started. Or, he won’t come
here because he does not have legit stars in place. And there’s the one
about him not wanting to deal with the local media … Better we should
ask whether Jackson wants to put up with the meddling Dolan. Or if
Dolan, who watched Larry Brown fail miserably but still leave the Garden
with a suitcase full of his cash, wants to invest millions in another
senior citizen coach/diva.”
I can dig it. But if not giving Woodson a vote of confidence before
now didn’t have to do with Jackson, why haven’t we heard something
positive? Only one thing I can think of: Dolan intended to hold this
blade over Woodson’s neck in case the Knicks got swept by Miami.
So now that the jinx has been broken and the Knicks have won their
first playoff game since Gore whipped Bush in the 2000 election, is
Again, I wish I felt easy about this. I can’t help but think that
Woodson’s future in New York might be riding on tonight’s game. I don’t
think the Knicks necessarily have to win – and I certainly don’t think
they’re going to – but if they can make it close, I think everyone,
including Dolan, would have to concede that the team did as well – or
even better, considering the injuries – than could have been expected.
But if they get blown out ….