Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Woodson: Phil 'letting me coach'
By Ian Begley
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Phil Jackson’s been around the Knicks this week. But he hasn’t been as “hands-on” with the team as some expected him to be.
“He’s letting me coach. That’s all you can ask at this point,” Mike Woodson said after practice on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to get this team in the playoffs and I’m sure when the time comes for Phil and I to talk we’ll talk.”
Mike Woodson discusses the Knicks' status for Friday's game and their postseason hopes.
Jackson has spent time at the team’s practice facility since taking over as team president last month. But he’s been meeting with scouts and executives and hasn’t been hands-on with the players.
“I gather he’s kind of staying out of the way and letting me do my thing in terms of trying to get this team in the playoffs,” Woodson said. “That’s OK. I’m sure when the time comes he and I’ll have a chance to sit down and talk and see where we are. But first things first, guys, make no mistake about it, we’re in a playoff race trying to get this eighth spot. That’s where everybody’s focus should be.”
It's widely expected that Jackson will replace Woodson after the season. Woodson has one year left on his three-year deal. So Jackson could be trying to keep a distance from Woodson and other players that he plans to jettison after the season.
The Knicks have performed well below preseason expectations. They enter play Wednesday 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks play the Celtics on Wednesday night.
“I’ve heard about it. Larry’s his own guy and I have a great deal of respect for Larry. But Mike Woodson’s his own guy as well,” Woodson said. “For me, it’s been a rollercoaster year for all of us. I’ve never shied away from taking responsibility of this team. I’m the coach of this team and I take great pride in that. I just wish that things could have been different based on how we started the season and where we are today. On a positive note, we still have a shot to make the playoffs.”