Feb 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson reacts in the second half against the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Potential coaching replacements for Mike Woodson


There are a lot of words to describe the New York Knicks’ season perfectly. Atrocious, awful, shocking, lousy, confusing, bad, pretty much any synonym that has to do with terrible. The only positive thing the Knicks have right now is Carmelo Anthony, but even he could be on his way out after this season. Right now, the number one thing on their mind is to keep Carmelo Anthony a Knickerbocker. And that all starts with finding a new head coach that meshes well with Anthony. Ideally.

There are a lot of coaches the Knicks can go to that would satisfy Anthony. The problem, is finding a coach that actually wants to come to New York. Given their current situation, it’s going to be a tough sell for the Knicks. They are really in a tough spot right now. Really, keeping Carmelo will get potential coaches interested, but to keep Carmelo they need to find him a good coach. The Knicks are kind of stuck in the middle of what could be a train wreck or a dream come true.

Let’s take a look at some of the coaches that the Knicks might reach out to in the offseason:

Phil Jackson

Ever since Phil Jackson parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011, he has been a major target for any team looking for a head coach. It’s quite easy to tell why. I mean, he only has 13 Championship rings, 11 as a coach and 2 as a player. He’s one of the most respected people in all of basketball. He would be great to have as a head coach for any team, but he is pretty picky.

In 2012, the New York Knicks pursued Phil Jackson as a head coach. That year, Jackson stated “I wasn’t gonna take that job; that’s for sure.” He went on to add “They don’t fit together…well Stoudemire doesn’t fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire’s a really good player. But he’s gotta play in a certain system and a certain way. Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can’t stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together.”

Although Phil was not at all interested in 2012, it doesn’t mean they won’t pursue him again. I’m sure they will try their luck, just in the off chance that he is interested. Anthony has proven that he is willing to pass the ball more and he has made it clear that the only thing on his mind is winning. Maybe that will convince Jackson to come, who only wants to coach a team that will win — now.

Phil Jackson would be a great fit on the sidelines for the Knicks, but it is mostly likely too far of a reach to look for someone who has stated they won’t coach again. You’ll never know until you try, I guess.

Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy often reminds himself of when he resigned as the New York Knicks’ head coach back in 2001. “I live with that regret every day. Not because I view myself ‘as a quitter’. I don’t look at it that way. But I did leave that situation, I did quit that situation and I live with that regret,” said Jeff Van Gundy.

Well, when opportunity knocks, open the door. There’s a good chance that Van Gundy could be given a second chance by fate. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says the Knicks will plan to pursue Van Gundy, who is now a color commentator for ESPN. Looking at the situation, it could be possible to see him on the sidelines.

Jeff Van Gundy, unlike Phil Jackson, hasn’t been overly critical of Anthony. Van Gundy knows how to keep players inspired, but on the other hand is also skilled in placating superstar’s egos. Under Van Gundy’s control, the Knicks were known for gritty defense and resilience, coaching them to the 1999 NBA Finals as underdogs.

Although Carmelo Anthony says he wants change if they want him to stay, maybe a familiar face is healthy for him, and the Knicks. Van Gundy is a great defensive coach, which the Knicks need a lot of right now. And although he isn’t an offensive sage, he is fiercely competitive and would go to war for his players. Seeing him on the sidelines could just do wonders for the struggling franchise.

Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau has made a name for himself in Chicago, both as a defensive-minded coach and a tough one at that. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says that the Knicks have already reached out to Thibs. The question here, is whether Thibodeau would leave Chicago or not.

Thibs hasn’t always had a peachy partnership with the Bulls’ front office and that friendship could’ve taken a hit earlier this year. Before the trade deadline, the Bulls traded away their most consistent players on the team, Luol Deng. J.A. Adande reported that it had to hurt Tom Thibodeau to see him leave. “He loved Deng, always had good things to say about him,” Adande said in a tweet.

Thibs has two seasons left on his current contract after this season. Making him leave Chicago will be a great challenge for the Knicks. Before getting into all that, would he even be a good fit for Anthony and the Knicks? Many people would go with no, knowing how defensive-minded Thibs is. Anthony is an offensive juggernaut and doesn’t really play too well on defense. So it is debatable as to whether they would get along. Then again, maybe it would be best for Anthony in improving his game and giving his team wins. Like they say, defense wins championships.

It’s no question that one thing the Knicks need most is defense, though. And bringing in a defensive-minded coach would benefit them as a team. Grabbing a hold of Thibs would not only keep Anthony interested in staying, but it would also get other superstars interested in coming to New York. It would be a win-win for the Knicks. We’ll just see if they can pull it off.

 

Editor’s note: This was a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and can follow the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more New York Knicks stats, news and rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues today.

 

Tags: Chicago Bulls Jeff Van Gundy Mike Woodson NBA NBA Rumors New York Knicks Phil Jackson Tom Thibodeau

  • Leroy Boyd

    Forget Thibs and forget Phil. Phil’s laker ties are to deep its Lakers or nothing furthermore phil aint gonna coach a team like the Knicks unless he has total control will Dolan do that? With Thibs who would be better off Thibs in NY or Melo in Chicago?

  • tdh

    I agree with Leroy mostly. Phil Jackson is not coming back to NBA out of retirement especially for a Knicks team that has grossly under-performed this season. Thibs in Chicago is under contract with the Bulls. They can’t just make him an offer or steal him, they must compensate CHI to get him. Doc Rivers cost the LAC a FIRST ROUND pick, and Thibs is an annual contender for coach-of-the-year. NYK don’t even have one first pick this year, and if I remember correctly they might not have next year either. Jeff or Stan Van Gundy could be plausible for NY. I would say signing either would be good, but I honestly don’t blame a lot of this mess in NY on Mike Woodson. More of it is Dolan’s fault with bad contracts, both in financial amount locking the payroll and in evaluating talent and best-fit for building around Melo/Chandler. Woodson can only play people on his roster. Van Gundy can change the discipline a bit and lower the tolerances for bad behavior, but this will not give him better players next year than this year. Will that turn NYK into a over-500 team? possibly. Not sure that makes them able to compete with MIA or IND though.