It seems like a bombshell could drop at any minute around the New York Knicks. That's what happens when inflated expectations are served up with a wicked dose of reality.
The latest news coming out of Knicks camp wouldn't qualify as a headline grabber. In fact, it barely falls under the umbrella of "newsworthy," but technically, it would still fit the term.
Per Marc Stein of ESPN:
Going online now: ESPN sources say Knicks owner James Dolan told his players Thursday no trades or changes to coaching staff are forthcoming— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 27, 2013
Stein continued with more details:
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Dolan gathered the team before the first practice in the wake of New York's embarrassing 29-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Christmas Day largely in an attempt to hush the growing speculation about coach Mike Woodson's job security in the wake of the Knicks' 9-19 start.
The discussion came amid increasing signs the Knicks' effort and focus under Woodson is waning on top of the significant injury issues that have plagued them all season.
It's believed Dolan took the step in an attempt to convince Woodson's players to band together and throw their full support behind the embattled coach to help dig New York out of the sizable hole it finds itself with essentially one-third of the regular season in the books, the sources said.
As far as the trade talk, there's nothing to see here. Even a franchise as delusional as this had to know its hands were tied, right?
In order to find a willing trade partner, you need to have something to offer them first. With a horde of bad contracts, a one-way star (Carmelo Anthony) who plans to hit free agency this summer, a prospect (Iman Shumpert) they can't seem to get rid of and a slew of draft debts to pay off, the Knicks have nothing to give.
The fact that James Dolan is trying to squash any talk of a coaching change is the only "news-ish" portion of this update. But even this might not be what it seems.
First, there's no assurance that this actually takes head coach Mike Woodson off the hot seat.
Via Devin Kharpertian of TheBrooklynGame.com:
I give Woodson 48 hours.— devin kharpertian (@uuords) December 27, 2013
Second, who would actually want a part of these coaching reins? Why would someone like George Karl, Lionel Hollins or either of the Van Gundy brothers (Stan and Jeff) step into a situation as volatile as this? In the middle of the season, no less.
The Knicks have a lottery-bound record (9-19), an early playoff exit roster and an owner expecting a title this season. The risk is so high for a potential replacement, and the reward sits uncomfortably low—that's a deal-breaking combo off the bat.
So, take Dolan's words for what they really are—an acceptance of reality.
Even in a warped world like his, there is no quick-fix solution for this heaping mess.