The New York Knicks may or may not be keeping Mike Woodson as head coach after this season, but if they do, the interim coach really needs to thank his big-time star players for making it possible.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks are beginning talks with Woodson about keeping him as head coach:
The Knicks have initiated talks that would keep Woodson as the team’s head coach for the foreseeable future, the Daily News has learned. The talks are only in the preliminary stages but it is clear that Madison Square Garden management is convinced Woodson is the right man for the job and will not pursue either Phil Jackson or Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Isola also stated that the talk began last week, so this is not a result of Woodson helping the Knicks win their first playoff game since 2001.
However, several hours after that report, Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported that Woodson denied that any contract talks have taken place.
This is certainly intriguing, to say the least. If Woodson does really stay on as head coach with the Knicks, he needs to be vocally grateful to the Knicks' top players for saving the team and getting him a contract extension.
Woodson took over for Mike D’Antoni in March. He coached New York to an 18-6 record and the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference to end the season.
While Woodson does deserve credit for keeping the Knicks alive, most of it goes to Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the stud players in New York. If Woodson does indeed get an extension, he needs to specifically take Carmelo out to a nice restaurant and give him a big thank you hug as well.
The Knicks have been mostly the "Carmelo Anthony show" in last couple months or so. The result has a been a playoff appearance and now a potential contract extension for Woodson.
In the month of April, Carmelo was essentially the MVP, not only of the Knicks but practically the entire league. He averaged 29.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in April, which was 10 points more than his average in March.
Carmelo knew he had to step up and carry the team while key contributors were getting injured. He saw his team pick up the slack while he was injured, so he returned the favor and led New York to the postseason.
Without Carmelo's valiant effort down the stretch, the Knicks might not have made the playoffs. If they were currently sitting at home right now watching the action on TV, the Knicks management would more than likely be searching for a new coach, and it's highly unlikely they would seriously consider Woodson.
In addition to Carmelo being a huge help, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler had great performances down the stretch as well.
Stoudemire averaged 17 points and six rebounds, and Chandler averaged 11.9 points and 10. 7 rebounds per game in the month of April. The last time Chandler averaged a double-double for entire month was back in December.
Thanks to his top players, Woodson looks like he could possibly be in New York for awhile, which is huge for him considering how he never amounted to much in Atlanta. With bigger stars, Woodson better not mess things up with the Knicks.
It will certainly be interesting to see what comes of this and if Woodson does actually stay on with the Knicks.
If healthy for all of next year, the Knicks will do some damage in the Eastern Conference. Woodson might be leading the way as head coach, but everyone will know that Carmelo and company are the real leaders and the true reasons the team is successful.