Knicks pick up Mike Woodson’s option for 2014-15 season
The Knicks might have a penchant for making their personnel decisions more difficult than they should be, but the team made a wise and decisive call regarding the immediate future of coach Mike Woodson. As announced by the team, New York has officially picked up its option on Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season, securing his services for at least the next two years.
It’s not exactly surprising that the Knicks would want to keep a coach who won 72 of his first 106 regular-season games, but picking up Woodson’s option does qualify as some kind of statement given New York’s front-office shakeup. The surprising dismissal of GM Glen Grunwald — a Woodson ally and the man responsible for his hiring — led some to believe that Woodson could be on shaky ground. That appears not to be the case, as the Knicks have affirmed their faith in Woodson with another year under contract. In fact, according to Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal, Grunwald replacement Steve Mills said that picking up Woodson’s option was his first order of business in his new role with the Knicks.
Woodson was criticized for the Knicks’ sloppy, regressive performance in the playoffs, but he can be credited for various foundational aspects of New York’s play over the last season and change. Carmelo Anthony’s relationship with Woodson was among the cited reasons that he was able to shift Melo over to the power forward position on a regular basis, a move that made all kinds of sense given the Knicks’ roster. It was Woodson, too, who earned more consistent buy-in from J.R. Smith, including the guard’s fairly decent defensive play over the past year. His rotation work helped to balance out the strengths and weaknesses of New York’s perimeter players, and to best surround Anthony with the kinds of players who can complement his game.
In all, those developments — and more — led to the most successful Knicks season in more than a decade.