New York Knicks: Why Extending Mike Woodson's Contract Was a Smart Move

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28:  Coach Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks reacts against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs  on April 28, 2012 at the American Airines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The New York Knicks are playing it safe and sticking with Mike Woodson.

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Woodson and the Knicks have agreed to terms on a new deal to keep him in the Big Apple and remove the "interim" label:

Knicks and Mike Woodson have finalized a deal to remain head coach, a person close to Woodson tells the Daily News.

— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) May 25, 2012

The terms of the agreement have yet to be disclosed.

After leading the Knicks to their first playoff win in 11 years, it was an expected move. The options were limited elsewhere, and Woodson has already developed a strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony.

In today’s NBA, that’s the most important aspect of your head coach—does he get along with his star?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  (L-R) Head coach Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks look on against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in Ne
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

It’s a sad reality, but one the Knicks and the rest of the league have to abide by. Under Woodson, 'Melo actually tried on defense and bought into his system. Then again, when the system is give the ball to 'Melo and clear out, it’s easy to see why the star bought in.

Anthony is in charge of this team, and keeping him happy has to be priority No. 1 for the organization. He wanted Woodson, so he got him.

Owner James Dolan sounded like a man that was sold on Woodson after the results he produced this season (per Alan Hahn of MSG Network):

Mike took over the team under challenging circumstances and made it clear, starting on day one, that he was going to hold every player on our roster accountable. We saw a significant improvement since Mike took over and believe our team will only keep improving under Mike’s direction.

When he took over for Mike D’Antoni on March 14, the team was in disarray. The playoffs were very much in doubt and it appeared as if a mutiny was on the horizon.

The team proceeded to go 18-6 to close out the regular season, before losing to the Miami Heat, 4-1, in the first round of the playoffs. While losing four out of five playoff games typically isn’t anything to jump for joy about, the Game 4 win snapped a 13-game postseason losing streak.

Woodson helped get the monkey off the franchise's back and deserved to be rewarded. Herb Williams, Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas and D’Antoni couldn’t do it.

While Phil Jackson was the sexy pick, odds are, he wanted to stay far away from somebody with the ego of Carmelo Anthony….and the knees of Amar'e Stoudemire. Considering the current roster, this isn’t exactly the most favorable job right now.

New York did the right thing by keeping Woodson, and we can expect the Knicks to improve next year due to the lack of drastic changes among the coaching staff.