Knicks’ Woodson left in limbo
Glen Grunwald had the interim tag removed from his title as New York Knicks vice president and general manager on Tuesday. But he was not ready to do the same for interim coach Mike Woodson. Not yet.
“Right now,” Grunwald said, “we just need to stay focused on the playoffs.”
Woodson’s 17-6 record since he took over for Mike D’Antoni on March 14 certainly makes a strong case for him to be retained, but there remains a bigger test ahead in the postseason, where the Knicks haven’t won a game in over a decade and a playoff series in 12 years.
Grunwald’s promotion by team owner James Dolan certainly didn’t come as much of a surprise, especially after Grunwald’s terrific job this season in building the roster around stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. It started with the impressive move to use the amnesty clause to waive Chauncey Billups and create the salary cap space to sign free agent Tyson Chandler. Grunwald also picked up sharpshooter Steve Novak and, of course, rags-to-riches point guard Jeremy Lin off the waiver wire and signed J.R. Smith with the team’s mini mid-level exception.
The former Toronto Raptors executive had a tough act to follow in Donnie Walsh, but he has done so with an understated aplomb and an affinity for staying behind the scenes and out of the media spotlight. But it is his next move that will stand out as perhaps his most important: filling the head coaching position.
For the time being, Woodson will have to wait and continue to endure rumors of interest from Hall of Famer Phil Jackson and marquee college coach John Calipari.
But the team’s stars have already endorsed Woodson’s return next season.
Stoudemire said Woodson has done “a phenomenal, phenomenal job. I love his attitude, I love his coaching style.”
Anthony praised Woodson for bringing accountability to the locker room and for challenging him to play harder.
“I would love to see him around here,” Anthony said.
The Knicks close out the regular season Thursday in Charlotte.