Mike Woodson not worried for job

Updated: November 22, 2013, 10:03 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Mike Woodson's New York Knicks are reeling. But the coach isn't worried about his job status.

In an interview Thursday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show," Woodson said that he's confident the Knicks (3-8) will turn things around under his guidance.

"I'm going to continue to coach this team, and eventually I'm going to get us over this hump and get us on the winning track," Woodson said.

Woodson I'm going to continue to coach this team, and eventually I'm going to get us over this hump and get us on the winning track.

-- Mike Woodson

Asked whether he's worried about getting fired, Woodson said, "Absolutely not. I'll never feel that way because, again, I'm paid to coach. I'm the Knicks' head coach."

New York is in last place in the Atlantic Division, tied with the Brooklyn Nets.

Both Big Apple teams entered the season with high expectations.

But the Knicks have lost four straight and six in a row at home. They started 10-0 at home in 2012-13. They are 1-6 this season.

New York's struggles have led some to wonder whether Woodson's job is in jeopardy.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported this week that the consistent word in coaching circles is that Woodson's job is safe, but Stein also noted that the famed unpredictability of Knicks owner James Dolan makes it difficult for anyone to declare that Woodson is safe. The front-office switch from Glen Grunwald to Steve Mills as the Knicks' lead front-office voice, for example, caught many league observers by surprise.

But Dolan, in an interview with the New York Post, expressed approval for Woodson despite the team's start, saying Woodson's players continue to believe in him.

"I have a lot of confidence in Woodson," Dolan told the newspaper. "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. And those are hard things to get [for] a coach. When a coach loses a team ... that's when a coach is kind of done."

Fans at Madison Square Garden have fueled some of the speculation.

Woodson heard "Fire Woodson" chants from fans late in home losses to San Antonio and Atlanta this month.

At the time, the coach said he didn't pay attention to the fans' chants. On Thursday, Woodson said he doesn't think his job status should be a topic for discussion.

Woodson, who is under contract through the 2014-15 season, also said that he was encouraged by the Knicks' play in their overtime loss to Indiana on Wednesday.

"I thought it was a positive night for our ballclub," he said.

The Knicks had a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but guard Iman Shumpert fouled Paul George on a 3-point attempt with five seconds remaining. George made all three free throws, and the Pacers won in overtime, handing the Knicks their fifth loss in six games.

"We competed, and that was a beautiful sign to me," Woodson said.

Woodson didn't want to discuss in detail why he feels so strongly that he won't be fired.

"Again, I'm not going to even go into any more details about it. We've got new faces this year. Everybody's still trying to figure out one another," he said. "I'm trying to figure out guys as a coach and the chemistry is not quite there yet."

Woodson cited injuries to Raymond Felton (two games missed due to hamstring, lower back and hip injuries) and Tyson Chandler (out at least two more weeks with a broken right fibula) as factors in the Knicks' struggles.

Woodson also believes the Knicks' chemistry would be "somewhat intact" if reigning Sixth Man Award winner J.R. Smith hadn't missed the first five games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

"We can't run from what's happened," Woodson said. "We dug a hole, and we've got to dig ourselves out of the hole. That's the bottom line."

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