Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Mike Woodson denies contract talk
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- New York Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson denied a report that he and the team have begun discussions on removing his interim tag and hiring him for next season.
"That's not true, not at all," he said after practice Tuesday.
The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that Woodson and the team have had preliminary discussions to do just that.
When asked Tuesday if he was denying that conversations between either him or his representatives and the Knicks had taken place, Woodson said "Absolutely. ... We have not."
Woodson replaced Mike D'Antoni March 15 and led the Knicks to an 18-6 finish to the regular season. The team is down 3-1 to the Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Daily News reported that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan met with Woodson for 45 minutes Sunday before the Knicks' Game 4 victory, but the coach denied that a conversation had taken place.
"Not at all, not at all, no, I have not," he said.
Woodson, 53, has repeatedly said that he would "love" the opportunity to coach the Knicks for a full season. He was asked if he felt he had done enough to earn the job.
"I don't look at it like that," he said. "I went 53-29 (in 2009-10) in Atlanta and was out of a job. So I don't look at it that way. What's going to happen will happen. Right now I do have a job and I'm coaching the New York Knicks. They gave me that opportunity and I'm just trying to make the most of it. Right now the job is not completed."
On Tuesday, both Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire said they were in support of Woodson returning.
"Absolutely, absolutely," Anthony said. "If they're going to do it right now, or if they're going to wait until after the season, I would love to see him back.
"I support that. Everybody knows what he's done thus far since he's been here, the short period (of time) that he's had the head coaching job. There's no need to cut it off right now, we're kind of just getting started."
Said Stoudemire: "We had a great run so far. I think it's something that we can build on, for sure. I know as players, we all love his philosophy on both ends of the court. He has a good understanding and we all get along very well. So it would be great to build something solid, sooner than later."
Among the names mentioned for the Knicks' job is former Knicks player and Bulls and Lakers coach Phil Jackson. But there is no indication the 66-year-old would come out of retirement.
Woodson coached the Hawks for six seasons from 2004-10, taking Atlanta to the playoffs three times.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor for ESPNNewYork.com.