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Friday, November 22, 2013
Dolan: Woody's safe

By Ian Begley

 James Dolan
James Dolan is giving Mike Woodson the thumbs-up. For now.
Owner James Dolan is confident Mike Woodson can turn things around for the Knicks.

"I have a lot of confidence in Woodson, and one thing I can say about Mike is he has the respect of all the players. They all respect him. And he treats them fairly and relatively equally, and that’s part of where the respect emanates from," Dolan said in an interview with the New York Post. "And those are hard things to get from a coach. When a coach loses a team ... that’s when a coach is kind of done."

Some have speculated about Woodson's job security in the wake of the Knicks' 3-8 record, but Dolan backed him.

"It’s a question of: Can you get there?" Dolan said. "With Mike, I think he can get us there. Mostly, I think Carmelo [Anthony] can get us there, and the other players can get us there, they’re going to have to jell and I think Mike can do a lot to get that to happen. Because he has their respect."

No Melo without Amar'e: Dolan said he has no regrets over his decision to sign Amar'e Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million contract. Stoudemire has suffered through several injuries during his tenure with the Knicks. He has had three knee surgeries in a 10-month span and is now limited to playing 15 minutes per game.

Dolan credited Stoudemire with helping to turn the Knicks franchise around. He said that Carmelo Anthony would not be a Knick if Stoudemire hadn't signed with the club in the summer of 2010.

"Carmelo's not here without Amar'e," he said.

Dolan expects to win a title: Despite his team's slow start, Dolan believes the Knicks can contend for an NBA title.

"I think we have the pieces in place to do it," Dolan said. "The skill level is there but there’s so much more to the game than that, and it’s really in the hands of the players. They have to believe in themselves, they have to put in the work, the effort, the discipline, they have to listen to the coach, they have to execute a strategy and put an effort in every game. And they have to get themselves to be the best team they can be at the end of March."

Sources told ESPN New York that Dolan told his staffers in a meeting before the season he expects the Knicks to win a title. The Knicks last won a championship in 1972-73.

Why was Glen let go? Dolan didn't offer any specifics on why he demoted Glen Grunwald and hired Steve Mills earlier this season. He said he hired a consulting firm to assess both the Knicks and Rangers.

The result of its findings?

"It’s become apparent that we really need to reprocess both teams. We were using a lot of -- not old, but “classic” methods and now with technology, and what’s available to a team to help improve, I didn't think we were taking advantage of those things," Dolan said.

He added: "Glen is more of a “classic” GM, and he just wasn't the guy to lead this initiative for the team, and it had to be someone in that position who could do it because I wasn't going to do it. It needed someone behind it, someone who understood it, and that just wasn't Glen’s forte. I think he was a good general manager, he’s got a great eye for talent, he knows basketball well, but the job description changed."

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