Knicks pick up Mike Woodson option

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have picked up the option on coach Mike Woodson's contract for the 2014-15 season, the team said Monday.

"I have long respected Mike and think he has done a remarkable job since becoming the head coach of the Knicks," team president and general manager Steve Mills said in a statement. "After spending time with him recently, it is clear that picking up his option is an easy decision."

There was speculation heading into the season that if the Knicks underperformed under Woodson, the team may decline the option for 2014-15 and go in another direction. The organization put an end to that speculation -- and potential distraction -- with Monday's announcement.

Extending Woodson's contract was the first big move made by Mills, who took over for the demoted general manager Glen Grunwald last week.

"I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with Mike Woodson," Mills said. "I watched the team a lot last year. I was happy to see what he was able to do with the team."

Woodson guided the Knicks to an 18-6 mark as interim coach after beginning the 2011-12 season as an assistant under Mike D'Antoni. He was made head coach during the 2012 offseason and signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year.

As coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-10, Woodson compiled a 206-286 record.

"I am very excited about (Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden CEO James) Dolan and Steve Mills giving me an opportunity to come back another year," Woodson said. "I try to deal with my situation year to year. It has never been about me in terms of what I do -- it's strictly about the team and what we're trying to pursue as a team but I am very grateful that they picked my option up."

With the Knicks, Woodson has been known as a players coach who can also hold the stars in the locker room accountable. J.R. Smith, last year's Sixth Man Award winner, has credited Woodson for his success in New York.

"He's obviously the perfect fit for the job," Smith said.