Knicks, Mike Woodson near deal

Updated: May 23, 2012, 9:36 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Knicks are in the final stages of contract negotiations with Mike Woodson and are expected to make him their coach in the coming days, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPNNewYork.com.

The deal could be announced as soon as the end of this week, according to the source.

[+] EnlargeMike Woodson
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIMike Woodson will be pointing the way for the Knicks once his contract to become coach is finalized.

"They're just waiting on paperwork," the source said.

"The job's his," a second source familiar with negotiations said. "It's just a matter of time."

The two sides are working on a multiyear deal, a team source confirmed.

Woodson took over as coach on an interim basis when Mike D'Antoni stepped down March 14. Under Woodson, the Knicks finished the regular season 18-6 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. He coached the team to a win in Game 4 of its first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat, which snapped the franchise's NBA-record 13-game postseason losing streak.

Woodson has received the support of many Knicks players, among them Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin.

Anthony has shown the strongest support for the 54-year-old Woodson.

"I'm hopeful he's back," Anthony said earlier this month. "There's no need to try to change it up now. I'm a big believer in sticking with what you have."

When D'Antoni first stepped down, Phil Jackson, the former Knicks player and Bulls and Lakers coach, and Kentucky coach John Calipari were mentioned as potential replacements.

But there was no indication that the 66-year-old Jackson would come out of retirement -- one team source said that the Knicks did not reach out to Jackson -- and Calipari repeatedly has denied interest in leaving Kentucky. New York was hesitant to reach out to Jackson because of his age and the hefty contract offer that it would likely take to entice him to take the job.

Woodson is longtime friends with Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald. Woodson and Grunwald played college basketball together at Indiana.

Many believe Woodson's candidacy for the full-time job greatly improved when the Knicks removed the interim tag from Grunwald's title late in the regular season. But Grunwald said at the time that hiring the team's next coach would be an "organizational" decision, not his alone. He was, however, highly complimentary of Woodson.

"Woody's done a fantastic job. I can't give him enough credit for the job he's done since he's been here," Grunwald said in late April. "Normal coaching changes don't result in such a dramatic improvement in a team's performance so I think that speaks very well of him."

Woodson, who coached the Atlanta Hawks to the playoffs in three of his six seasons with the club, declined comment through a team spokesman. A team spokesman also declined comment when asked about the state of negotiations between Woodson and the Knicks.

Earlier this month, Woodson split with his agent, Keith Glass.

Glass is the son of Joe Glass, who represented former Knicks coach Larry Brown during his stormy one-season tenure in New York. Brown, who signed a five-year, $50 million deal with the Knicks, reached an $18.5 million settlement with the club after being fired.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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