GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Mike Woodson said he knows where Carmelo Anthony stands.
The Knicks head coach said his star player is still “on board” despite the team's struggles this season.
“He’s still got a chance to make the playoffs this year,” Woodson said after practice Thursday. “I mean, it’s not over with. ... So until we’re clearly out of it, Melo should be just fine. Melo I think is on board. I know he’s on board."
Anthony has been frustrated this season and has repeatedly said he has never experienced a start like this. However, Anthony, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, continues to say the right things.
“Melo has been a major bright spot for our ballclub this year,” Woodson said. “He hasn’t missed any games really and he’s been there every game trying to help us win games. I know he’s there, he’s going to be there until the bitter end -- if it’s a bitter end. But right now he’s going to be there and I trust that he’s going to stay there. We’ve just got to make sure that everybody else is on board.”
Woodson spent some of his weekly appearance on ESPN New York 98.7 reiterating that his relationship with center Tyson Chandler is good and that recent comments by Chandler questioning strategy and Anthony’s questioning of the team’s lack of fight will not divide the locker room.
“Sure he did say that,” Woodson said on "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show" when asked about Chandler’s comments. "But I am not going to fight with my players because ... we are all in this together. Tyson and I spoke, had a great conversation. At the end of the day, he’s still got to go out and perform, I still have to coach players to perform and at the end of the day we got to win.”
“[Chandler] challenging me, I challenge players, Melo challenging effort, I think it’s healthy,” Woodson added. “I am not going to sit here and let the media tear up our team inside with what we are trying to do. My thing is I got to keep guys in place, keep guys playing hard and keep guys believing that we can still make the playoffs. That’s the goal.”
One day after losing for the fifth straight time to the lowly 76ers at Madison Square Garden, Woodson made his agenda very clear to reporters. Woodson reiterated that the Knicks’ goal of making the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference is still within reach despite the team’s 15-27 record.
And it’s clear Woodson is using this as a rallying cry.
“I am not going to let anybody quit,” Woodson said. “I am surely not going to quit. And I am going to continue to push these guys to get these goals accomplished in terms of making the playoffs.”
Woodson was asked how he will move forward after Chandler’s comments.
“Where I go from here is I am going to challenge him to be better,” the coach said. “And I am going to challenge Melo and all the other guys that are in uniform to be better. That’s where I go as a coach.
“I am not going to sit here and demoralize Tyson,” Woodson added. “Again, Tyson is a big piece to what we do. Tyson helped us win 54 games last year. And 18-6 the year before that. We just go to get everybody on board, back playing hard, competing for 48 minutes and see what happens.”