NEW YORK (PIX11) – Expectations are like the kiss of death for coaches that can’t live up to them, and the Knicks had plenty of expectations coming into the season.
So with Mike Woodson failing to lead the team to the playoffs in arguably the weakest Eastern Conference ever, Monday Phil Jackson made his first major move as team President by letting go of Woodson and the entire coaching staff.
“Tough luck for him,” said Knocks Fan David del Pra. “I mean ultimately he had the team, he had the players and didn’t really do anything with them, but ultimately I pin it on ownership before I pin it on him.”
Outside the Garden some fans lamented the loss of Head Coach Woodson Monday. But with the team missing the playoffs, no one was surprised by the news.
“He had a pretty good team this year and they made it last year with barely any changes, so they should have made it this year,” said Knicks Fan Philip Lee.
New Knicks President Phil Jackson didn’t blame Woodson for the poor season, but said it was just time to move forward.
“The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual,” said Jackson. “But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond.”
And so the focus now turns from the past to the future as the Knicks begin the search for the next head coach.
Right now former NBA point guard Steve Kerr seems like the odds on favorite. Kerr played for Jackson with the Bulls and has three championship rings.
“I’d like to see Jeff Van Gundy to be honest with you,” said Knicks Fan Andy Acovino. “But Steve is a Phil Jackson guy, so the probability of him coming here is pretty great.”
But coach isn’t the only question mark the Knicks have for next season: Carmelo Anthony says he will test free agency. Even though the Knicks can pay the star forward $30 million more than any other team under the collective bargaining agreement, Anthony supported Woodson throughout the season and says he wants to win now.
“I think they’re going to resign Carmelo and then just make it passed the first round this season,” said Knicks fan Brian Ho.
Making it passed the first round next year won’t be an easy task regardless of who the coach is.
Before Woodson, the team hadn’t won a playoff series in more than a decade.
Jackson didn’t take any questions about the firing but team officials say he will speak to the media on Wednesday.
Many fans are hoping that Jackson will coach the team himself next year.
With 13 championship rings, including 11 as a coach, it’s not hard to understand why.