Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Popper: Mike Woodson’s Days Might be Numbered


On Monday, the last place Milwaukee Bucks defeated the New York Knicks 101-98. Steve Popper of NorthJersey.com reported on Tuesday that Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson might be fired by the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

The Knicks entered the season hoping to build off their impressive 54-28 record last season. They have not only failed to matched that success, but they are one of the worst teams in the NBA this season.

They have already exceeded their loss total from last season, 19-29 record. They have dealt with numerous injuries, including to Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony and center Tyson Chandler.

One of the lowest moments of the season is when Bucks’ point guard Brandon Knight hit a go-ahead three-point shot over Knicks’ point guard Raymond Felton on Monday night. Knight’s jumper propelled the Bucks their ninth victory of the season.

On Tuesday, Popper reported that Woodson might be fired by the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

Woodson’s words not encouraging for the team’s fading chances and in particular, the usually positive Stoudemire’s words not encouraging for Woodson, whom one league source said could be removed before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.”

Woodson has had to constantly alter his rotation due to injuries to nearly every player on the Knicks’ roster. Any time it appeared that the Knicks were going to have their initial roster healthy, a player sustains an injury.

His job security appeared to be in jeopardy earlier in the season, but Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan that no changes were going to be made, according to Popper. It is unknown how much losing Dolan can handle after he proclaimed the Knicks to be a title contender, prior to the season.

The Knicks are limited in their potential transactions due to their lack of draft picks.

In 2011, they traded a 2014 first-round pick and two second-round picks, they acquired from the Golden State Warriors, when they acquired Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Prior to the start of this season, the Knicks also traded a 2016 first-round pick and a 2014 and 2017 second-round pick when they acquired Andrea Bargnani, according to ESPN.com.

Woodson still believes they have a chance to make the playoffs, according to Popper.

My job as the coach is to get these guys over the hump. We’re still in position. It’s not like it’s the last week or two weeks of the season where we don’t have a shot in making the playoffs.”

Despite the abysmal season for the Knicks, they are still in playoff contention. They are only three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division and one and a half games behind the eighth-seeded Charlotte Bobcats.

The Knicks have won four of their last six games, which includes defeating the Bobcats 125-96 on Jan. 24. Beginning Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Knicks’ next six games will be against Western Conference teams.

Four of those six teams have at least .500 records. This six-game stretch could determine Woodson’s fate in New York.

The ideology in the NBA is that a struggling team cannot get rid of their roster. This typically leads to the head coach being fired because it is easier to blame him for the team’s struggles.

It is unknown what Dolan’s current mindset is, but he appears to hate losing. If Woodson cannot propel the Knicks to the eighth-seed soon, then Popper might be right.

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