The New York Knicks announced they were firing head coach Mike Woodson and nearly anyone associated with him on staff.
New president and coaching legend Phil Jackson initiated the firing as one of his first acts with the team. The Knicks haven’t been performing quite like they need to be and this kind of “everyone pack your stuff” drastic measure is exactly the sort of thing that can shake a team up.
Jackson was decisive and borderline harsh in his dismissal, and Woodson was right in his choice to accept the firing in a humble and magnanimous way. He knew the team hasn’t been playing to the standards they are capable of. There’s no argument he could have made. Especially knowing Jackson’s no-nonsense way of doing things. Remember, this was the man who told the press of Kobe Bryant, “I’ve had it with this kid.” This is just how Jackson is.
However, there are a lot of people who will begin speculating Jackson will take the bench himself. Ten years ago, this would have meant a Knicks championship next season, no questions asked, make the t-shirts. Those people are spectacularly misguided and need to step back and think about what they’re saying.
Jackson was a great coach — was a great coach. At this point in his life, he’s just finished with coaching. What does he have left to prove? He took some of the greatest teams in the history of the NBA on championship runs and did so up against some of the best ever to play the game. Jackson walked away from the Los Angeles Lakers as he was just passing his prime.
For him to take the Knicks’ bench at this point is like playing the rent money on the lotto after three winning tickets. It would be sad to see a coach like Jackson go out floundering and risk his legacy.
To stay out of the game is the right move, and the Knicks have plenty of great coaches to choose from.