Does Woody have a prayer?



Youngmisuk By Ohm Youngmisuk

It's awfully difficult trying to predict anything James Dolan will do.

After all, Glen Grunwald can oversee a team that won 54 games and a playoff series last season and still be rewarded with a demotion to an adviser role.

But when it comes to Mike Woodson's future, I'm guessing that Woody survives this season. Why? Because the Knicks need to do all they can to keep Carmelo Anthony happy. And unless Anthony wants a new coach, I don't think the Knicks would take the risk of making a coaching change during a season that precedes the summer when Melo will opt out of his contract.

Anthony backed Woodson on Monday and said his coach shouldn't be blamed for the Knicks' 120-89 loss to the Spurs on Sunday.

Sure, if the Knicks keep losing games in which they show little effort or competitive fire, Anthony -- and Dolan -- could change his mind.

But Woodson is a coach Anthony has won 54 games and a playoff series with. Melo has won a scoring title under Woodson's watch.

Does Anthony want to start over with a new head coach in-season? And who would that coach be if the Knicks decided to make a change? If Dolan made a switch, he could opt to bring in a coach from the outside rather than go with an assistant already on the bench like Jim Todd, Darrell Walker or Herb Williams.

Considering the Knicks want to do whatever it takes to keep Anthony, they would need their star to sign off on any coaching change. Did we mention that Woodson is represented by CAA, whose clients also include Anthony?

Let's see what Woodson can do with this current squad and go from there. It's hard seeing any other coach out there coming in and winning a championship with this roster as currently constructed. There's a reason why Dolan picked up the option on Woodson's contract before the season.

It's impossible to predict anything that happens under Dolan's watch. But I think Woodson will last this season if for anything else because he has Melo's backing.

Keeping Anthony happy will keep Dolan happy.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers New York basketball for


Begley By Ian Begley

Under normal circumstances, we wouldn't be talking about Mike Woodson's job security six games into the season.

After all, he coached the Knicks to 54 wins last year and to their first playoff series win in 13 years. But normal circumstances rarely exist with the Knicks.

That's why I think Woodson may not make it through the season. Just to be clear: I don't think Woodson deserves to take the fall for the Knicks' shortcomings.

There is plenty going wrong with the team that is out of his control, starting with Tyson Chandler's injury and J.R. Smith's five-game suspension to start the season.

Woodson's also been handcuffed by a flawed roster. The Knicks' big-ticket offseason acquisition, Andrea Bargnani, hasn't filled two of New York's most glaring needs: inside scoring and defending around the rim.

So Woodson has been forced to mix and match his lineups and rotations early in the season, searching for the right combination to spark the Knicks. So far, he hasn't found it. And that's on him.

But that, to me, is not a fireable offense.

Knicks owner and MSG chairman James Dolan, however, may think otherwise.

He's fired coaches in the middle of a season before (Don Chaney, Lenny Wilkens). So there's no reason to believe he'd hesitate to do it this season. Sure, the Knicks picked up Woodson's option for next season, but that probably wouldn't give Dolan a reason to reconsider if he wanted to fire him. It didn't impact his decision to let Larry Brown go one year into a five-year contract.

So while there's no indication now that Dolan has any intention of firing Woodson, it would be foolish to think that the coach's job is safe for the rest of the year.

Does Woodson deserve the chance to coach his way out of the Knicks' early-season struggles? Of course.

But with Dolan in charge, the fate Woodson deserves and the fate he gets could be two very different things.

Ian Begley writes about the Knicks for


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