- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- All the talk about coach Mike Woodson's job security hasn't sat well with J.R. Smith.
And the most recent development -- the Knicks' pursuit of Phil Jackson -- doesn't sit well with Smith, either, because of its effect on Woodson.
"I don't think it's been fair the way he's been treated all year," Smith said Friday, following the Knicks' 108-81 win over the Utah Jazz. "I think he's done a great job since he's taken over the head [coaching] job, and if we're having a bad year, I don't think he should take the blame for all of that. I think some of the players should take the blame for that. And we should move on as a unit as opposed to singling people out."
Woodson's job security has been in question all season due to the Knicks' struggles. On Friday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that Knicks president Steve Mills met with Phil Jackson and talked to him about coaching the team.
ESPNNewYork.com later confirmed the Knicks also discussed a potential front-office position with Jackson. The front-office offer was first reported by the New York Daily News.
It made for an awkward day at Madison Square Garden because Woodson remains under contract. He is expected to be fired at the end of this season but is under contract through the 2014-15 season.
"I really don't have an opinion on it," Woodson said before Friday's game, when asked about the Jackson reports. "I really don't. Again, as I sit here today, I am the coach of the New York Knicks. I am not going to entertain anything about Phil.
"I have a great deal of respect for Phil, but I am not going to entertain anything about Phil Jackson. My job is to try to get this team to play at a high level and we got a big game tonight against Utah, and we got to get ready to play."
After the Knicks' win Friday, Carmelo Anthony said he was aware of the reports about Jackson but was not privy to the organization's pursuit of the legendary coach.
"Of course, you hear it," he said. "I heard it when I came in today. In the training room, that's all that's on ESPN, so you see the stuff. But as far as me, personally, I haven't heard anything of that nature, so it's hard for me to speak on something I don't know about."
High-five: The Knicks' new starting five had another strong night Friday. The unit of Smith, Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler combined to score 73 of the Knicks' 108 points.
The unit also helped New York build a 17-point, first-quarter lead.
"We got a lot of weapons in that starting lineup," Smith said.
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