Mike Woodson

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Rose, Woodson, Pelle

Knicks fans haven’t forgiven Kristaps Porzingis for requesting a trade two years ago, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The limited crowd at Madison Square Garden booed the Mavericks‘ center throughout Friday’s game, which Dallas was able to win even though he had a sub-par performance.

“The reaction was what I expected, of course,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy we got the win.”

It was Porzingis’ second game at the Garden since the deal, and the response seemed to rattle him, as he missed six of his first seven shots from the field. Fans began anti-Porzingis chants during introductions and they continued loudly until the Mavericks took control of the game.

Former teammate Derrick Rose is sympathetic, saying he understands Porzingis’ decision to make a trade request.

“When you think about the situation it wasn’t an easy situation for both sides, with him wanting to leave and with them, the fans felt like they put their all into him by supporting him,” Rose said. “I get it. I was in a similar situation when I left Chicago. People felt like it was me.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • It’s up to Rose to justify the front office’s decision to pass on making a big deal at the trade deadline, states Marc Berman of The New York Post. Rose, who was acquired from the Pistons in early February, represents the only significant trade the Knicks have made since the season began.
  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said coaches around the league aren’t surprised that Tom Thibodeau has the Knicks in playoff contention in his first year with the team, Berman adds in a separate story. “He’s a guy that has great respect in the coaching ranks, because of what he stands for as a tactician, what he stands for as a guy that believes in tough, hard-nosed play, unselfish play, and particularly on the defensive side,” Carlisle said. “He’s got this team playing to its strengths.’’
  • Mike Woodson, who resigned as an assistant with the Knicks to become the head coach at Indiana University, discusses Thibodeau, team executive William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”), president of basketball operations Leon Rose and other topics in an interview with Steve Serby of The New York Post.
  • Newly-signed center Norvel Pelle will be available for tonight’s game, but Thibodeau described him as “situational,” which means he won’t be part of the rotation unless something unexpected happens, Bondy tweets. Thibodeau added that the scouting staff likes what it has seen from Pelle.

And-Ones: Woodson, Ivey, McCall, Brooks

Knicks assistant Mike Woodson has accepted a position to become the new head coach of Indiana men’s basketball program, the school announced today (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported (via Twitter) that the sides were finalizing a six-year contract. The agreement allows Woodson to officially return to his alma mater.

Woodson moved up in the program’s wish list after Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann both declined the job, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).

Woodson, a former NBA player and veteran coach, joined Tom Thibodeau‘s staff with the Knicks last September. He has previously served as an assistant with several teams from 1996-2004, head coach of the Hawks from 2004-10, head coach of the Knicks from 2012-14 and assistant with the Clippers from 2014-18.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Woodson isn’t the only New York-based assistant coach eyeing a college job. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Nets assistant Royal Ivey interviewed for the Texas Longhorns’ open coaching position on Sunday. Ivey played his college ball for Texas before entering the NBA in 2004, appearing in the Final Four with the program in ’03.
  • Free agent guard Tahjere McCall is signing in France with Orléans Loiret Basket, his agent told Hoops Rumors. The 26-year-old recently played with the Lakeland Magic and received NBA G League All-Defensive Team honors. He also averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 15 games, proving his worth on both ends of the floor.
  • Despite an announcement from the team last week, guard Armoni Brooks will no longer be reporting to Orléans Loiret Basket, sources said. McCall will essentially be replacing Brooks, who averaged 16 points per game in the G League this season. The 22-year-old Brooks went undrafted in 2019.

New York Notes: Nash, Woodson, Larry Greer, Draft

Steve Nash‘s former coach in Phoenix believes he’ll be successful in his new role as head coach of the Nets, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who revolutionized the game with Nash when they were together in Phoenix, believes the Hall of Fame point guard has the background to handle the challenge of running a team.

“He worked as hard as anybody I’ve seen in basketball to get ready in basketball. Even when he broke his leg in LA, no one outworked him,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll do the same as a coach. He knows basketball. It’s a pretty good formula for success.”

Like most observers, D’Antoni was surprised that Nash was interested in coaching. Since retiring as a player, he has overseen the Canadian men’s basketball team and worked as a player-development consultant for the Warriors, but never publicly indicated that he wanted to be a coach.

“I didn’t know he wanted to coach,” D’Antoni said. “He’s got a great basketball mind. I know he loves basketball. So it doesn’t surprise me. But it’s interesting.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Nash also gets an endorsement from former teammate Jared Dudley, who tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Nets found a coach who knows how to relate to players. “I think that when you’re looking outside the box, you have to bring someone in (who has) the respect factor with the superstars,” Dudley said. “That’s what it is now. And someone with a creative mind. That’s the test. It’s a test for any person who might have been a star, or one thing, and now you’re in a different role.”
  • Mike Woodson‘s return to New York after an absence of more than six years became official this morning, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Woodson, who led the Knicks to their last playoff appearance in 2013, joins Tom Thibodeau’s staff as an assistant. The team waited to make the announcement until former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant was eliminated from the playoffs. Berman hears that Larry Greer, brother of new assistant coach Andy Greer, may also join the organization. He was an assistant with the Suns before the hiatus and worked with new Thibodeau in Minnesota.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a look at the Knicks‘ draft options and examines three scenarios: players with upside, immediate help and low-risk options.

Knicks Add Mike Woodson, Two Others To Coaching Staff

SEPTEMBER 4: The moves are official, the team announced in a tweet.

AUGUST 28: As expected, the Knicks are finalizing a deal for former head coach Mike Woodson to join Tom Thibodeau‘s staff as an assistant coach, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, the team is also close to hiring Andy Greer and Dice Yoshimoto as assistants.

Woodson was one of 11 candidates to interview with the Knicks earlier in the summer for their head coaching vacancy. He was always considered a long shot for that job, but was cited throughout the process as a likely candidate to join the team’s staff.

Woodson, who also previously served as the head coach of the Hawks, was the lead man on the Knicks’ bench for two-plus seasons from 2012-14. During his time as New York’s head coach, Woodson led the club to a 109-79 (.580) regular season record, making the playoffs twice and winning a series in 2013 — that was the last time the Knicks appeared in the postseason.

As for Greer and Yoshimoto, their inclusions on Thibodeau’s staff have been long-rumored as well. Both men worked with Thibodeau during his previous head coaching tenures in Chicago and Minnesota.

Yoshimoto started as an assistant video coordinator with the Bulls before eventually becoming an assistant with the Timberwolves. Greer has also been part of past coaching staffs for the Knicks, Rockets, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, and Raptors — he and Thibodeau worked together as assistants in New York from 2001-03.

The Knicks continue to fill out Thibodeau’s staff, having previously hired Kenny Payne away from Kentucky. They also reached an agreement to make Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant their associate head coach once his playoff run in Utah ends.

Knicks Considering Mike Woodson, Kenny Payne As Assistants

Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne are receiving strong consideration as Tom Thibodeau puts together his staff in New York, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes.

The Woodson move appears to be “virtually done,” sources tell Zagoria, although nothing has been announced. Woodson has head coaching experience with both the Hawks and Knicks and led New York to its last postseason trip in 2013. He last coached as an assistant with the Clippers from 2014-18.

Woodson, 62, got an endorsement this week from former Knicks coach David Fizdale on Sirius XM NBA Radio.

“You know, it’s not an easy place to work, it’s not an easy place to coach,” Fizdale said. “There’s a lot of different things that swirl around the team and that’s just what comes with being the New York Knicks. And so because Woody successfully navigated that and really understands the dynamic of New York and New York City I think he’s really going to be of huge value to Thibs in that situation. And Woody can flat out coach and so that’s where he’s also going to help him is from that standpoint on his own accord.”

Payne is currently “weighing an offer” from the Knicks, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium. The 53-year-old has ties to both newly hired executive William “World Wide Wes” Wesley and team president Leon Rose. Payne is known for developing big men, including Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns. He also worked with Knicks forwards Julius Randle and Kevin Knox while they were with the Wildcats.

“KP is one of the best development coaches in the world,” Towns said last year. “KP is the horse beneath the jockey driving Kentucky basketball.”  

Mike Miller, who served as the Knicks’ interim coach after Fizdale was fired, is also being considered for a spot on Thibodeau’s staff, according to Corey Hersch of SNY.tv.

Knicks Notes: Woodson, Assistants, Thibodeau, Harkless

Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who interviewed for the team’s top coaching position again this time around, is expected to rejoin the organization in some capacity, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

There were rumors during the Knicks’ coaching search that Woodson was a candidate to be hired as an assistant, so Charania’s report doesn’t come as a real surprise. Still, it’s worth noting that on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Knicks GM Scott Perry said that Thibodeau will have the autonomy to build his own coaching staff, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News tweets. Perry added that the staff will be “diverse,” with a focus on player development.

Based on reports to date, it sounds like the support for Woodson has come from within the Knicks organization. If he ends up joining the team’s coaching staff, that should be confirmation that Thibodeau wants him on board as well.

Here’s more on the Knicks and their new head coach:

  • In addition to Woodson, Mike Miller, Rick Brunson, and Daisuke Yoshimoto are the names that Steve Popper of Newsday keeps hearing as possibilities for Thibodeau’s new coaching staff (Twitter link). Brunson and Yoshimoto both worked under Thibs in Minnesota.
  • Speaking to reporters today, Thibodeau cited three main reasons why he viewed the Knicks’ job as an attractive one, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Thibs praised the current roster, referring to it as “young and talented” with “room for growth”; he said he’s excited about the draft assets and cap flexibility the team has at its disposal; and he indicated that the presence of Leon Rose and William Wesley in the front office is also appealing.
  • Maurice Harkless, an unrestricted free agent this fall, isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be back with the Knicks in 2020/21, but he’s intrigued by the hiring of Thibodeau, calling him a “great coach,” writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Harkless hasn’t played for Thibodeau before, but met him earlier in 2019/20 when the veteran coach visited the Clippers.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Van Gundy, Miller, Woodson

Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy believes the organization is making the right choice in Tom Thibodeau, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thibodeau, who is close to finalizing a five-year agreement with the team, was brought to New York as an assistant by Van Gundy in 1996.

“I’m extremely happy for Tom and equally happy for the Knicks as they hired an elite coach who will give everything he has to turn the Knicks around,” the ABC/ESPN broadcaster said.

New York began its search June 4 and talked to 11 candidates. However, many were considered to be courtesy interviews as Thibodeau was reportedly a strong favorite all along. Berman points out that five of the candidates — Ime Udoka, Wes Hardy, Chris Fleming, Pat Delaney and Jamahl Mosley — have no experience as NBA head coaches.

“Tom has always been their guy,” a source told Berman.

There’s more news on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks first offered the job to Thibodeau on Thursday morning, Berman tweets. He responded with a counter offer later in the day, but they didn’t make significant progress toward an agreement until Saturday.
  • Thibodeau should have plenty of time to prepare for a proposed group workout next month involving the eight teams not in Orlando, Berman writes in a separate story. Knicks president Leon Rose supports the idea of the gathering so the young roster can learn the new coach’s system, but isn’t in favor of scrimmages with other teams.
  • Interim coach Mike Miller and former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson both have “strong internal support” to be part of Thibodeau’s staff, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Among those conducting the interviews along with Rose were executive vice president and senior advisor William “World Wide Wes” Wesley, general manager Scott Perry, and vice president of basketball and strategic planning Brock Aller.
  • The Knicks’ new management team has long supported Thibodeau, and the only real alternative would have been John Calipari if he had been willing to leave Kentucky, a source tells Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • Ed Pinckney, Andy Greer and Rick Brunson served as assistants to Thibodeau in both Chicago and Minnesota and should be considered candidates to join his staff in New York, notes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who also hears that Miller may be retained to provide some continuity. Vorkunov speculates that the hiring of Thibodeau means the Knicks aren’t interested in a long rebuilding process.

Jason Kidd Emerging As Frontrunner For Knicks’ Coaching Job?

1:17pm: Thibodeau is the Knicks’ first choice, but if he doesn’t reach an agreement with the team it could open the door for Kidd, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who hears from a source that Kidd “really wants” the job.

One source who spoke to Berman estimated that Thibodeau still has about a “65 percent” chance to end up with the job. Berman also reports that a final decision isn’t expected to be made until next week.

11:27am: Jason Kidd is emerging as a frontrunner in the Knicks‘ head coach search, a “plugged-in” source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

According to Bondy, Kidd’s odds of becoming New York’s next coach increased after negotiations with presumed frontrunner Tom Thibodeau hit a snag.

Considered a player-friendly coach, Kidd is viewed by the Knicks as an asset for attracting top free agents. However, according to Bondy, some people within the organization aren’t entirely sold on the former Bucks and Nets head coach, given how his stints in Milwaukee and Brooklyn played out.

Bondy suggests that if the Knicks go with Kidd, the front office would want to pick “at least some” of his assistant coaches. A source tells The Daily News that Kenny Payne, Rod Strickland, and Mike Woodson – who all have close ties to new Knicks exec William Wesley – would be candidates to join the staff as assistants.

Bondy hears from a source that the Knicks and owner James Dolan have been unwilling so far to agree to Thibodeau’s contract requests. According to Bondy, Thibodeau remains a possibility for the open position, but one side or both would have to make concessions. Retaining interim coach Mike Miller hasn’t been ruled out either, Bondy adds.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported on Thursday morning that the Knicks weren’t currently engaged in negotiations with any of their head coaching candidates and hadn’t made a contract offer to anyone. That doesn’t necessarily contradict Bondy’s report — it’s possible the team had earlier negotiations with Thibodeau and never got to the point where an offer was made. It’s also possible negotiations took place in the last 24 hours, after Begley’s report was published.

Begley also indicated on Thursday that there’s a “strong likelihood” the Knicks will have conversations with multiple candidates next week, so it may still be several days before the team finalizes its decision. The club is expected to have a new head coach in place by the end of the month.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Woodson, Gibson, Hayes

Tom Thibodeau has been doing extensive film study on the Knicks in case he gets hired as the team’s next head coach, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thibodeau, who is among 11 candidates to receive an interview, is considered to be the favorite for the job.

Thibodeau recently had a second interview that lasted three hours, Berman adds. He is reportedly very interested in helping to develop second-year center Mitchell Robinson, who has already emerged as one of the league’s most dangerous shot blockers.

Former Knicks coach Rick Pitino, who has a long history with Thibodeau, talks with Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News about the coach’s reputation for being prepared. “He was meticulously organized, almost scary organized, and he reminded me of (New England Patriots coach) Bill Belichick,” Pitino said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with Belichick and Thibodeau’s got a lot of the same mannerisms, the same attention to detail that Belichick has. And that’s about the highest compliment I could give someone.”

There’s more on the Knicks this morning:

  • Mike Woodson will be a candidate to join the staff in New York even if he doesn’t get hired as the head coach, Berman adds in a separate story. David Fizdale reportedly wanted to bring on Woodson as an assistant when he was hired, but the front office turned him down.
  • Taj Gibson, who played for Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota, didn’t say much about the coaching search during a rally Saturday in New York, but he expressed confidence that the organization will make “the right decision,” Berman writes in another piece. Gibson, who is waiting for the Knicks to decide on his $9.5MM player option for next season, was disappointed that the team wasn’t invited to be part of the NBA’s restart in Orlando. “Any competitor type would want to be out there and competing,” he said, “but we’re not and I’m just working hard in the gym getting ready for next season.’’
  • The agent for French point guard Killian Hayes confirmed that the Knicks are among several teams that conducted video interviews with the projected lottery pick, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Mike Woodson Has Second Interview With Knicks

As the Knicks move forward with hiring a new head coach, the team had its second interview with candidate Mike Woodson on Friday, per SNY’s Ian Begley.

Woodson is among 11 known candidates New York is considering for the vacant role. While the presumed frontrunner for the job, Tom Thibodeau, has received most of the attention, the Knicks have also been connected to Kenny Atkinson, Jason Kidd, Mike Brown, Chris Fleming, Will Hardy, Ime Udoka, Pat Delany, and Jamahl Mosley.

As Begley details, all of the Knicks’ candidates had their first meetings with the team last month or during the first week of July. Woodson is among those that had his second interview this week. It’s not clear if a third round of meetings will be required, Begley adds.

Last month, Woodson spoke to Begley about his first tour of duty with the Knicks and why he feels the team can win under his tutelage once again.

“I did my job when I was here. We won games. The fan base was engaged. I walked out of the Garden many nights thinking that the fans were proud and excited about what we were doing,” Woodson said. “Am I capable of coming back to New York and helping them build a winning team again? I feel confident in that, I absolutely do.”

Woodson, 62, was the Knicks’ head coach from 2012-14 and was at the helm for the organization’s most recent postseason appearance. After his dismissal from the Knicks, Woodson joined Doc Rivers‘ staff in Los Angeles as an assistant coach.

New York has gone through a Rolodex of coaches since his departure, a list that includes Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Jeff Hornacek, David Fizdale and most recently, Mike Miller. Woodson, however, feels that with the current brass in power, he can guide a young Knicks team to a winning mentality.

“I think with the people in charge, with (president of basketball operations) Leon (Rose) and (GM) Scott (Perry) and (owner) Jim (Dolan) and everyone else that they hired on board, they will build a winner,” Woodson said. “At the end of the day, it takes everybody being on board to make it happen. That’s what we did (the last time I was here). We all had a great working relationship when I was here. That can definitely happen again. “