After the New York Knicks unceremoniously discarded former general manager Glen Grunwald in exchange for Steve Mills, many worried that the change in regime could put head coach Mike Woodson on the hot seat. Grunwald and Woodson were considered by some to be a two-person package and rumors that the Knicks dumped their GM for someone who (supposedly) was better suited for attractive prime free agents led some to question whether Woodson fit into the organization’s long-term plans.
Fortunately, the Knicks have given Woodson a vote of confidence and have picked up the 2014-15 option on his current contract, meaning he and his impeccable goatee will patrol the Knicks’ sideline for at least one extra season. While it lacks the unquestioned confidence of a brand new contract, it signals some desire for stability, which the franchise has often lacked (at times, laughably so).
He could still technically be fired at any time and he’ll likely have to submit to the many whims of the organization’s ownership (as all Knicks coaches and GMs must) but this should free him up to coach with a little less pressure. Given Woodson’s propensity for trotting out unorthodox lineups, that level of comfort will be hugely beneficial.
Even though he was outcoached by Frank Vogel in the playoffs last year, Woody has earned that extra year; he’s utilized the talents of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith more than any coach before him and he’s given the Knicks a unique offensive identity that help them vault to the top three in the league in offensive efficiency. Woodson has also earned the respect of the players in the locker room.
While the Knicks’ front office could still change their mind at any time (as they are wont to do), this move signals a commitment to building consistency and continuity. The front office made the right decision.