Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mike Woodson on hot seat; Jeff Van Gundy on back burner: Report

Mike Woodson's tenure with the New York Knicks may all boil down to Thursday's game against the Brooklyn Nets — if you believe the rumors coming coming out of Madison Square Garden.

While Woodson will coach the Knicks on Thursday, it is unclear how much longer owner James Dolan will allow his team's nine-game losing streak to go on. Dolan is obsessed with the cross-borough Brooklyn franchise and a bad loss against his rival could trigger changes — whether via trade or a coaching move, reports the N.Y. Post.

The Post reports that if Dolan eventually makes a move, ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy would not be ruled out as a future candidate — though such a hire seems more sensible in the offseason if Dolan goes with an interim coach.

The Knicks are a mess, with Woodson even acknowledging after Sunday’s loss to the Pelicans his team is playing scared late in tight games. Carmelo Anthony said the team is fighting confidence and “mentality’’ issues, and fixing that often falls on the coach. Anthony has hinted at a fracturing locker room, and there have been an inordinate number of blowups on the bench.

Dolan might have already set the table for Woodson's release.

The owner sat down with The Post’s Mike Vaccaro on Nov. 19 before the Knicks played in Detroit and voiced his support for Woodson, but the Knicks have lost seven straight games since.

“I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players,’’ said Dolan in that interview. “They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from. And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team, that’s when a coach is kind of done.’’

Van Gundy likely would be interested in the Knicks position. In late June, Van Gundy admitted he regrets quitting on Dolan — remarks that appeared to sit well with Dolan and may have served as a peace offering.

On ESPN Radio, Van Gundy called it “a stupid decision’’ to quit.

“It’s something I regret to this day,’’ the popular Van Gundy said. “I live with it every day and I regret it. And I let my emotions come into it. And I was just emotionally spent. I made a bad decision and I quit….I had a great job with the Knicks.’’

Van Gundy last coached the Rockets in 2006-07.

Expect a bare-knuckles battle inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center Thursday night. And maybe a little bloodshed after the game.

1 comment:

  1. Knicks/Nets game is gonna have all the appearances of a championship game. Might be the closest thing to a eastern conference final that Knick and Nets fan see this season.