The New York Knicks have fired head coach Mike Woodson and his entire coaching staff, a move that has been expected since the early stages of the season. The move was announced in a press release from team President Phil Jackson.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff,” Jackson said. “The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual. But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond.
“Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done. We wish him the best.”
Woodson had one-year remaining on his contract.
He spent a bit less than two and a half seasons as Knicks head coach, as he took over with 24 games remaining in the 2011-2012 season when Mike D’Antoni was relieved of his coaching duties. Woodson led them to a 18-6 record, good enough for seventh in the Eastern Conference. They would lose to the eventual NBA champions, the Miami Heat, in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
The future would look even brighter for the Knicks the very next season as they won 54 games, earning themselves the second spot in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the defending champion Miami Heat, who would go on to win their second consecutive title. The Knicks won their first playoff series since the 1999-2000 team, as they knocked off the Boston Celtics in six games. Though their run would end in the Conference Semi-finals, where they lost in six games to the Indiana Pacers, Knicks fans had hope for a championship contender in 2013-2014.
This newfound hope was squandered early on. The Knicks began the season with a miserable 3-13 record. This was when fans began to call for Woodson’s firing and it only got worse from there.
By the All-Star break, the Knicks were 20-32 and had lost 5 of their last 6 games. At this point, it seemed like Woodson could be fired at any minute, but it didn’t happen.
Even though they won 17 of their final 30 games, the Knicks missed the playoffs by one game.
Expected candidates for the job include former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis, former Lakers assistant coach and current Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw, and former Bulls guard Steve Kerr. All three have experience under Phil Jackson.