Mike Woodson knows why Phil Jackson is 'staying out of the way' this season

Kelly Dwyer
April 10, 2014
MWPJax41014
Mike Woodson and Phil Jackson may never have a working relationship. (Getty Images)

As the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 campaign winds down, a few things are just about certain.

For one, even if some that work (or at least visit) Madison Square Garden overrated the team’s talent entering this campaign, this is still a wildly disappointing outfit. Secondly, the squad is just about sure to miss the playoffs this year. And Mike Woodson, the man who righted the team’s ship during a typically combustible 2011-12 season before leading New York to 54 wins last year, is certain to be let go after this run mercifully ends.

Whether or not this is deserved isn’t the point. Knicks owner James Dolan loves scapegoats, and Woodson was probably a goner in Dolan’s eyes well before he hired Phil Jackson to (as of this writing, before Isiah Thomas sends Dolan another text) run the Knicks. Phil Jackson, sporting that beautiful basketball mind alongside an ego the size of South Dakota, is also going to want a fresh re-boot with his own cast of characters.

This is why there’s no real point in intimately getting to the 2013-14 New York Knicks, for Jackson, especially with less than a week left in the season. Woodson, to his credit, is more than aware of this, and spoke at length about Jackson’s Phil Jackson-sized arm’s length away from the team he’s been charged with running. From the New York Post:

“I’m sure Phil is just — I gather he’s kind of staying out of the way and letting me do my thing in terms of trying to get this team in the playoffs,’’ Woodson said. “That’s OK. I’m sure when the time comes we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk and see where we are. But first things first. We’re in the playoff race trying to get this eighth spot. That’s where everybody’s focus should be.’’

[…]

“He’s here conducting business, meeting with scouts and [general manager] Steve Mills, doing things he’s supposed to be doing,’’ Woodson said. “And he’s letting me coach. That’s all you can ask at this point. At the end of the day, we’re trying to get this team in the playoffs. And I’m sure when that time comes for Phil and I to talk, we’ll talk.’’

The Knicks are still technically gunning for that eighth seed, but the team’s playoff hopes – somehow still intact even after a 33-45 start to the season – could likely be extinguished by the time the weekend hits. New York has to take on the Atlantic-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday night, the team that dethroned last season’s Atlantic champs outta NYC, and the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks will be paired with a Brooklyn Nets team whose playoff seeding status is somewhat assured, one admittedly looking to rest starters.

A Hawks win paired with a Knicks loss ends New York’s mathematical hopes. The Knicks could still win out and hope that Atlanta finishes its season losing three of four, but that’s a bit of a long shot for a New York squad that has squandered chance after chance at returning to the playoffs. In a bracket that is as poor as we can recall in recent NBA history.

This is part of the reason why Jackson – a man that wants to sign big guards, centers who can pass, and players adept in some variation of the triangle offense – knows that this season is a lost cause. Jackson hasn’t even followed through on hiring a salary capologist-type to aide him as he moves to the front office yet, he still has no idea of some team will be able to finagle an October surprise this July that could lure Carmelo Anthony away from New York (and tens of millions in riches), and though Jackson has an unfortunate past of interviewing for other people’s jobs, he doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to finding a candidate to replace Woodson. A man who, again, still has a gig.

This is part of the reason why Dolan no doubt embraced Jackson as New York’s latest savior. Phil has his talents, but he’s also put off more than he’s turned on when it comes to the typical NBA circles. Former Bulls and Lakers GMs Jerry Krause and Jerry West certainly weren’t the most stable types personality-wise, but he drove one to basically fire Jackson after six championships in eight years, and he drove the other to want to walk away from an assured dynasty under Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

So there will little of the leakage to the press that you’d get from other New York saviors – people like Thomas and the well-connected Donnie Walsh and Larry Brown – with Jackson. The guy just doesn’t have a lot of mates, and though he’s been relatively talkative in his short New York tenure, his initial demure turn isn’t all that surprising.

All of this leaves Woodson twisting in the wind, but he’s no stranger to that. He was constantly on the watch in Atlanta, as those uninspiring Hawks teams failed to turn the corner, he wasn’t afforded immediate head coaching status in New York even after his sound work to finish 2011-12, and there have been rumors about his job security this season that date back before Thanksgiving.

To his credit, Woodson isn’t flinching. He has thrown some players under the bus this season, but on Wednesday the Knicks coach embraced the heat. From the Post:

“I could’ve been better as a coach,” he said. “You can point the finger there as well. As a coach I take pride in what I do. I’ll never pass the buck on anybody. This season’s been tough for a lot of people. I take full responsibility.’’

Woodson has his detractors, but in spite of a recent (and welcomed) wave of unorthodox front office moves, this is still a league that embraces the known, and Mike Woodson will still probably get another chance as an NBA head coach at some point. He’s doing himself and his future job considerations a great service by going out, we presume, on a classy note.

- - - - - - -

Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

  • Jason Williams Calls Charles Barkley A 'Loser' No One Wanted To Play With For Criticizing Kevin Durant

    Jason Williams, aka White Chocolate, aka Pistol Pete 2.0, he of the crispy passes and even crispier handle, has absolutely no chill. After his squad, ‘Pedro’s Posse,” got knocked out of the Tournament this weekend, Williams proceeded to go absolutely HAM on Charles Barkley for criticizing Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with the Warriors in free agency earlier this month. Via Mike Ortiz Jr. of Did You See That?!

    UPROXX
  • Can't find a room at Rio Olympics? Try the luxury sex suite

    Can't get a room at the Rio Olympics? Worry not, the Villa Reggia has beds -- oh, and sex chairs and an S&M cage. With 500,000 tourists expected to flood Rio de Janeiro for the Games starting August 5, Brazil's second biggest city is bending over backwards to make sure there's enough lodging.

    AFP
  • Walden University - PhD in Psychology

    Walden University - PhD in Psychology

    Earn your PhD in Psychology and make a positive impact within your community, organization, and profession. Request free information!

    Walden University
  • Hamilton dominates Hungarian GP to take F1 championship lead

    Lewis Hamilton moved into the lead of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship for the first time in 2016 after dominating Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix and picking up his fifth win in six races. Hamilton started second at the Hungaroring, but never looked back after passing Mercedes teammate and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg into the first corner, leading all but two laps en route to victory. Despite expecting to face a challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari in Hungary, Mercedes eased clear at the front of the pack to easily score a one-two finish. The margins between Hamilton and Rosberg were fine in the closing stages, but the Briton did enough to take a record-breaking fifth victory in Hungary, pulling

    MotorSportsTalk
  • Johnny Cueto annoyed with Royals after White House snub

    Johnny Cueto played a key role in the Royals World Series win, but wasn’t invited to the White House celebration. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Johnny Cueto, who pitched a shutout for Kansas City in Game 2 of the World Series before joining the San Francisco Giants in the offseason, was also not extended an invitation to the event. And, like Gomes, he’s not happy about it.

    Big League Stew
  • Messi returns ahead of schedule, sporting golden hair (photo)

    Lionel Messi is back with Barcelona a week earlier than expected, as the Camp Nou set prepares to defend another La Liga title. That means Messi will be on the roster for the International Champions Cup, as Barcelona is slated to play Celtic, Leicester

    NBC Sports
  • Luxurious Estates Ideally Located in Chantilly

    Luxurious Estates Ideally Located in Chantilly

    Enjoy proximity to dining, wineries and retail in your elegantly spacious new NV home at Dawson’s Corner, priced from the upper $640s.

    NVHomes
  • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos Deserve Gold Medals for Their Pool Game

    A video posted by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa) on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:07pm PDT Hey Olympics committee, is it too late for these two to join the team? As Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos enjoyed a weekend getaway, the Hollywood couple took time to savor the great outdoors with some quality pool time. Instead of simply dipping their feet into the shallow end or relaxing on a giant inflatable swan, the pair decided to get physical with an innocent game of wrestling. "Synchronized wrestling is going to be the hottest sport at this years Olympics," Kelly joked on Instagram as video captured the duo having some fun. "Participants must be over 45 and have protective eyewear. #rio here we come." With the Rio games

    E! Online
  • Sam Foltz and Mike Sadler, punters for Nebraska and Michigan State, died in a car accident together

    Foltz was approaching his senior season at Nebraska, and Sadler was an accomplished Michigan State alumnus. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured. Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were both killed in a car crash in Wisconsin Saturday night.

    SB Nation
  • Lou Lamoriello and Maple Leafs: 5 things we’ve learned after a year

    Except this time, as I write about Lou Lamoriello, there’s considerably less shock, awe, Eastern Conference plate tectonics and bafflement. Growing up as a New Jersey Devils fan, imagining that Lamoriello would leave the general manager’s chair wasn’t too outrageous.

    Puck Daddy
  • New Townhomes in Frederick from the Mid $200s

    New Townhomes in Frederick from the Mid $200s

    Experience the convenience of planned town center living at Jefferson Place. Models include a garage, amenities and great pastoral & mountain views.

    CalAtlantic Homes
  • Red Sox analyst Remy struck by monitor as wind causes havoc

    “The incident, which was non-physical in nature, currently is under further investigation by the club,” general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. The White Sox clubhouse was open to reporters for only 20 minutes before it was closed for a team meeting before the game. Manager Robin Ventura did not discuss the incident later in his pregame availability. Right-hander Matt Albers started in Sale’s place and the White Sox planned to use multiple relievers.

    HardballTalk
  • DeMarcus Cousins looks to make most of chance with US basketball team

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins considers the thought, and one of the NBA’s most recognizable scowls quickly turns into a bright smile. Without saying a word, it’s clear he agrees: For the first time under Mike Krzyzewski, the U.S. Olympic basketball team has a genuine offensive weapon in the middle. The Americans might even have the best center in the world. Cousins had 14 points and 15 rebounds in just 16 minutes of the Americans’ exhibition opener, a 111-74 victory over Argentina. The Sacramento Kings star can score inside and out, and gives the U.S. a dimension it hasn’t had while winning the last two gold medals. “DeMarcus is going to be a force in Rio,” teammate Klay Thompson said. The

    ProBasketballTalk
  • Chris Bosh's Playing Future Reportedly May Depend On Whether He Continues Taking Blood Thinners

    No one in the NBA is going through quite what Chris Bosh is. After two straight seasons cut short by sudden rare medical issues, Bosh is at a crossroads with his body, his team, and blood-thinning medications. A new report from the Miami Herald makes clear that Bosh is eager to return to the court, as he has been during this whole process.

    UPROXX
  • KitchenAid® Black Stainless Appliances

    KitchenAid® Black Stainless Appliances

    Behold, the first-ever black stainless steel kitchen. The new exclusive color that's as bold as you are. Visit the KitchenAid site to view appliances.

    KitchenAid®
  • Harvick remains atop Sprint Cup standings, Edwards drops two spots

    Kevin Harvick maintained his lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings after Sunday’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Harvick leads Brad Keselowski by 20 points, while Kurt Busch is in third place, 44 points behind Harvick. Joey Logano (-65) is fourth, while Sunday’s race winner, Kyle Busch (-70) is fifth. Carl Edwards took the biggest points hit of drivers in the top 10. Edwards was involved in a late-race crash and dropped from fourth to sixth place, 78 points now behind Harvick. Also of note, Kyle Larson moved into contention for the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup. Larson climbed four spots to 15th in the standings. Here’s how the standings look

    NASCAR Talk
  • There is a report about Islanders eyeing a new arena in Nassau, too

    The New York Islanders’ new owners claim that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is “our home,” yet there are all kinds of rumors going around about where they may settle. Things really heated up with talks of moving next to the New York Mets with a new arena in Queens, but apparently that’s not all. New York Newsday reports that the Islanders have met “several times” with the New York Racing Association to build a new arena in Belmont. This would mean that the Islanders would (wait for it) bring the team back to the Nassau area. It was emphasized that such talks were in early stages and that the ownership group is “weighing multiple options, including remaining in Brooklyn.” When it came to the rumors

    ProHockeyTalk
  • MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 1-2 LA Galaxy (video)

    The game in 100 words (or less): The LA Galaxy are firing on all cylinders these days, having extended their winning streak to four games (six games unbeaten) with a 2-1 victory over the defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday. The win sees Bruce Arena’s side move to within two and five points of the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield-leading Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas, respectively (the two sides face one another later on Saturday), while the Timbers miss out on their chance to jump two places, up to fourth, in the West. Back to Saturday’s game, Robbie Keane bagged the 80th goal of his time in MLS (to go with 44 assists, bringing the Irishman’s impressive

    ProSoccerTalk
  • Why Small, Luxury Cruises Are Ideal for Explorers

    Why Small, Luxury Cruises Are Ideal for Explorers

    Silversea’s small luxury ships are designed for those who delight in the thrill of discovery with richly personnalised service and ocean-view suites.

    Silversea® Cruises
  • Georgia Southern vacates three wins from 2013-14 seasons

    Georgia Southern has vacated three wins from the 2013-14 seasons stemming from a two-year investigation into its football program, the school has announced. The violations occurred when the Eagles played an ineligible athlete in three games over those seasons. The wins came against Savannah State and St. Francis in 2013 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2014. Georgia Southern’s 2014 Sun Belt championship will not be impacted by the ruling. “While it is disappointing to vacate these three victories, we get to put this chapter behind us,” Georgia Southern AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “The student-athletes on this year’s football team, and teams moving forward, are not affected by the NCAA’s ruling

    NBC Sports: CollegeFootballTalk
  • Jeff Gordon and Junior fans react at Indianapolis

    Several Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans offer their reaction to Jeff Gordon substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    NASCAR.com
  • Report: Eagles to re-sign former 49ers quarterback

    Much has been made of the Eagles' quarterback situation this offseason, particularly Sam Bradford's feelings after Philadelphia spent the second overall pick on Carson Wentz.  One other name in the mix is a former 49ers passer in McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who is reportedly set to re-sign with the team, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.  The 28-year-old quarterback and Sacramento State product entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers in 2011 under Jim Harbaugh.  Bethel-Thompson had three stints with San Francisco, staying on as a third-stringer and practice squad quarterback.  Other teams in the NFL he's played for include the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots. 

    CSN Bay Area
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card

    Delta Reserve Credit Card

    Earn Miles and MQMs with Miles Boost™. Learn More. Terms Apply.

    American Express®
  • Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

    The Yankees are believed to be close to trading closer Aroldis Chapman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Saturday. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported on Sunday that owner Hal Steinbrenner hasn’t given authorization to sell “top guys,” which would include Chapman. The Yankees told other clubs they’re holding onto reliever Andrew Miller. The Nationals and Indians have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Chapman. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported on Sunday that the Indians “have the best names on the table” for Chapman. ESPN’s Keith Law reported that the Nationals were offering prospects Erick Fedde and Koda Glover along with another unnamed prospect. The Giants and Cubs have

    HardballTalk
  • Report: Celtics agree to guaranteed contract with Demetrius Jackson, partially guaranteed deal with Ben Bentil

    The Celtics are slowly but surely taking care of their eight (!) 2016 draft picks. They’ll sign No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown. No. 16 pick Guerschon Yabusele and No. 23 pick Ante Zizic will remain overseas. The Nos. 31 and 35 picks were traded for a future first-rounder on draft night. And Boston has reached terms with No. 45 pick Demetrius Jackson and No. 51 pick Ben Bentil. Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe: As second-rounders, neither Jackson nor Bentil count against the cap until signed. So, the Celtics — with a little cap space plus the room exception and minimum-salary exceptions available — might wait a while to officially sign either player. Jackson would give Boston 16 players — one more

    ProBasketballTalk
  • Terence Crawford beats Viktor Postol, is Manny Pacquiao next?

    Terence Crawford was simply far too good for Viktor Postol. As Floyd Mayweather would say, it was easy work for the budding superstar from Omaha, Neb. He was faster, more accurate, hit harder and controlled the bout from start to finish to add Postol’s WBC belt to his collection. Crawford now has the WBO and WBC super lightweight belts and possibly a Nov. 5 date with Manny Pacquiao if the Filipino senator decides to fight again.

    Kevin Iole
  • Take the Lead - Coast Guard Opportunities

    Take the Lead - Coast Guard Opportunities

    Want to learn more about the exciting opportunity to serve in America's elite force of maritime defenders? Plan your next move.

    United States Coast Guard
  • Kyle Busch dominates for Xfinity Series win at Indianapolis

    Kyle Busch scored his 83rd Xfinity Series win Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in dominating fashion. He led 62 of 63 laps in the Lilly Diabetes 250 after starting on the pole and holding off Kevin Harvick in overtime. The victory was the third straight for Busch in the Xfinity Series and his second consecutive at Indianapolis. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver also will start on the pole in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race, which he won last season. Kevin Harvick finished second with Paul Menard third, Kyle Larson fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth. Allgaier was the highest-finishing Xfinity Series driver and took home the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. “This NOS energy drink Camry was awesome today;

    NASCAR Talk
  • Report: Las Vegas NHL team asked permission to speak with Capitals assistant GM

    It’s been 10 days since George McPhee was officially announced as general manager of the expansion Las Vegas franchise. Based on a report Friday, it appears he’s looking to possibly add a familiar face from the Washington Capitals to his staff. Building a front office beyond his position is among the top priorities on his list of things to get done, as that franchise prepares for key dates like next year’s expansion draft. There is a long history between McPhee and Mahoney from their days with Washington. Ross Mahoney was hired by McPhee to be the director of amateur scouting for the Caps which he did for 16 seasons before becoming assistant general manager. If you thought the team drafted well

    ProHockeyTalk
  • WATCH: Leicester’s Mahrez picks up where he left off with splendid goal

    The Leicester man, linked to Arsenal, danced through the Celtic defense to take to whip a shot home and give the Foxes a 1-0 lead in Glasgow

    ProSoccerTalk
  • 5 bebe Babes Share Their Summer Must-Haves

    5 bebe Babes Share Their Summer Must-Haves

    Click to shop fashion blogger picks from bebe.

    bebe
  • Iowa DE says he was held at gunpoint while playing Pokemon Go

    Iowa defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (No. 56, above) nearly became a tragic combination of two of this nation’s hot button topics, according to a post on his Facebook page. Ekakitie says he was in an Iowa City park playing Pokemon Go when officers approached him with guns drawn, suspecting him of being involved in a nearby bank robbery. Ekakitie wrote his profile — a large black man dressed in black clothes — led five Iowa City officers to approach him, but the Hawkeye defender did not hear their approach due to having headphones in his ears — which led the officers to draw their guns. Ekakitie wrote police searched him before letting him go. “My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened

    NBC Sports: CollegeFootballTalk
  • Watch: Minor league teams for Astros, Rangers get into massive brawl on the field

    "I wasn't too pleased about him taking his time getting into the box," Conger said at the time. "Emotions run kind of high, especially when you play rivals teams." And, as seen in the video above, managers Jeff Banister and A.J. Hinch even got in one another's faces during the scrum. The rivalry spilled over into this season as well. The Rangers won the first eight games of the series between the two teams (and is 9-1 against Houston this season). On June 6, Houston reliever Ken Giles gave up a game-winning hit in a 6-5 loss to Texas. After the game, he told reporters the following: "We have more talent than this team does," Giles said. "That's what I believe, and we shouldn't be losing these

    SportsDay