Speaking on ESPN 98.7 FM, Woodson admitted this season has been catastrophic for his Knicks, per ESPN New York's Ian Begley:
Woodson: "This year, for me, has been kind of a disaster from a coaching standpoint .. and trying to get players to play at a high level."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 6, 2014
Like I said, that's an understatement.
The Knicks are 11 games under .500 after dropping a winnable game at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, having now lost two more games this year (30) than they did all of last season (28). Woodson, in turn, has found himself sitting on one of the NBA's hottest seats.
Fear not, though, because Woodson isn't worried about job security:
Admirable, Woody. Absolutely admirable. But maybe it's time you started worrying about your job, too.
Left behind to explain the team’s latest round of troubles were Woodson and a pair of veterans, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire.
And what they had to say wasn’t exactly reassuring — Woodson’s words not encouraging for the team’s fading chances and in particular, the usually positive Stoudemire’s words not encouraging for Woodson, whom one league source said could be removed before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Marc Berman of the New York Post confirmed Popper's findings with another source telling him Woodson may have lost the locker room.
"The players genuinely like him, but it seems like they all see where this is going and a lot of what Woody is saying isn’t getting through," the source said. "It’s kind of a scapegoat thing, but the reality is once you lose the group, that’s it. And I would say that moment is close."
This comes after Knicks owner James Dolan met with players in December and told them there would be no personnel changes between then and the trade deadline. Anyone familiar with the Knicks knows that means little.
Since that meeting alone, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, per BasketballInsiders.com's Tommy Beer, has linked the Knicks to Jeff Van Gundy:
Stephen A Smith, on ESPN radio, says he's hearing that:“The Knicks have every intention of letting Mike Woodson go.” (Likely at end of year)— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 23, 2014
Smith says the Knicks would eventually target Jeff Van Gundy as their ideal candidate.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 23, 2014
And Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau:
Stephen A Smith, on ESPN radio, says: "The Knicks would like to have Tom Thibodeau as coach. Fact. They have let him know they want him."— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) February 5, 2014
No such changes appeared likely to happen before this summer, but the narrative has shifted.
After rattling off five straight victories, the Knicks have lost eight of 12 and now rank 23rd in defensive efficiency. Whenever a team with the league's second-highest payroll is 2.5 games outside the Eastern Conference's playoff bubble nearly 50 games into the season, change feels necessary.
For the Knicks, it feels imminent:
Carmelo Anthony on potential roster/coaching changes before the 2/20 deadline: " If something was happen then it’s out of my hands." #Knicks— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 6, 2014
Something needs to be done if the Knicks wish to turn their season around, and J.R. Smith hopes it has nothing to do with Woodson.
"I love Coach Woodson," Smith said of his coach's job being in jeopardy, via Berman. "I think he’s done a great job. I would hope not, but if it does then we have to live with it."
Time is no longer on New York's side, though. Even in the Eastern Conference, a team can only fall so far behind before admitting defeat.
And for the Knicks, defeat means more than Woodson's job or exclusion from the playoffs. It means entering the offseason without a respectable team to sell their relevancy lifeline and free-agent-to-be, Carmelo Anthony, on.