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Knicks fire Mike Woodson after lost season

Woodson Out Of New York

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Woodson was fired as coach the New York Knicks on Monday after his team fell from division champions to out of the playoffs in one season.

Phil Jackson, in his first big move since becoming team president in March, said in a statement "the time has come for change throughout the franchise."

The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a serious contender.

Instead, they started poorly, making Woodson's job security practically a season-long distraction. A late surge wasn't good enough for a postseason spot or another year for Woodson.

Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach. He has repeatedly said he's not interested in returning to the bench, so he will have to hire someone before he turns his attention to the roster. The team said the coaching search begins immediately.

Jackson said he has a "tremendous amount of respect" for Woodson and his staff, which was also fired. Jackson called this an "extremely difficult" season and said "blame should not be put on one individual."

"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," he added.

Jackson has said he won't insist the Knicks run the triangle, the offensive system he used in Chicago and with the Lakers, but has made clear his belief in it. TNT analyst Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson with the Bulls but has never been a coach, has repeatedly been mentioned as a top candidate.

Woodson, a former Knicks first-round draft pick, was hired as an assistant coach before the 2011-12 season, then engineered an 18-6 finish after replacing Mike D'Antoni on an interim basis the following March to capture a playoff spot. Given a multiyear deal two months later, he then led them to a 54-28 record last season and the Knicks' first Atlantic Division championship since 1994.

New York then beat Boston in the playoffs, its first series victory since 2000, and general manager Steve Mills picked up next season's option year on Woodson's contract before this season began.

But the Knicks were saddled with some early injuries, including center Tyson Chandler's broken leg, and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was already considering replacing Woodson by December, when he met with Jackson at a holiday party and talked to him about coaching the team.

Carmelo Anthony praised his coach Thursday and even offered to back him publicly if necessary. But it was probably a clear sign Woodson wouldn't be back a few minutes later when Amare Stoudemire said the coach hadn't taken part in the exit meetings with players that Jackson and Mills held.

Woodson previously coached six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, leading them to the playoffs in his final three seasons. He has a career record of 315-365.

Woodson went 109-79 with the Knicks, who hadn't even made the playoffs since 2004 before he led them there in 2012. But he lost one of his biggest supporters within the organization when general manager Glen Grunwald, Woodson's college teammate at Indiana, was surprisingly fired last September.

Players and fans sometimes grumbled during the season about Woodson's strategies as the defense regressed and the offense was inconsistent beyond Anthony, who plans to become a free agent in July. Chandler said there probably was some "disconnect" and "misunderstanding" at times.

"Coach Woodson put together a game plan for us on the basketball court and there were times we didn't totally buy into it," Stoudemire said last week.

Still, the Knicks nearly rallied to make the playoffs by winning 16 of their final 21 games. But Woodson, who said he and Jackson had only brief chats in Jackson's first month in charge, said before the season finale he knew the coach often takes the blame.

"Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done," Jackson said. "We wish him the best."

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prnyl April 21 2014 at 2:32 PM

It is great having the Knicks and their dysfunctional selfish players out of the playoffs- Kudos to ownership for bringing Phil in- he will right the ship- I hope he puts Steve Kerr in as coach- both the Lakers and Knicks out of the playoffs in the same year- and the common bond has been selfish players and Mike D"Antoni as coach- good riddance!!!!

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b19821 prnyl April 21 2014 at 4:01 PM

Phil is B.S. The only way Phil will right the ship is if you give him an open checkbook......that is the only way Phil knows how to coach. Let se.. He had Jordan , Pippin, ,,,bal,,,, bla,,,bal,,, OPPS, as for his coaching ability, he lost when Jordan went to play Baseball. He could not coach the team to win without him. Same trip when he went to the Lakers, Kobe,,,gotta get Shaq....Gotta get Shaq... COACH PHIL,,,COACH,,,,,,Coach for once!!!!! Phil is no better than any other coach...NO PHIL, YOU ARE NOT GOD!

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b19821 April 21 2014 at 3:51 PM

Good luck being a coach under Phil Jackson.
And if you are the owner, you better open up the checkbook. Phil only knows how to win if you will BUY him the BEST players on the market. If you are a coach under Phil....have fun.....he is going to coach THRU you ...kind of like the Dallas Cowboys and who ever they have for a mouthpiece taht year. As for Phil's coaching abilities....what is the only year that the Bulls did not win the championchip??? That would be the year that Michael Jordan did not play! Sooo, right now Phil is looking for a puppet coach, or co-coach to work thru. Next up, it is time to start buying the best players to reolace a majority of the team. Look at Phil's history, that is exactly what it shows you. Phil Jackson =SPEND $$$$$. I understand you need good players to win, but Phil himself is not a great coach. There are a lot of great coaches in the league now, if you unload the owners wallet, they too are capable of winning. PHIL IS OVERRATED AND OVERPAID!!!

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ae12wrangell April 21 2014 at 3:19 PM

Woodson was fired? Who DIDN'T see that coming?

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The Don April 21 2014 at 2:09 PM

Please !! Enough of this hypocrisy and guilty consciences from the likes of Melo, JR Smith, Chandler and Felton. They only played hard when they wanted to, and then threw their coach ( Woodson ) under the bus to cover their lack of desire and integrity to play their best.

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b19821 The Don April 21 2014 at 4:04 PM

Exactly!!! Some of them waiting for Phil to right the ship will be going overboard on the way!

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thinksolutions April 21 2014 at 4:57 PM

Its ok next yeat jackson will be fired no different

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Reggie April 21 2014 at 3:00 PM

It's clear that base's on some of the comments on here it's very hard to stick to the current subject.

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marcel4745 April 21 2014 at 7:22 PM

Have Your Say... . The knicks are not a very good team. Look in order to win a Title you need team players. You will never have a team concept as long as Anthony is on the roster.
I wish the best to mike, he did what he could do. Black coaches in the league are not afforded the opportunity to have a bad season. Phil Jackson was a average coach in his day, it is easy to win a title if a team has already been built. Every night Phil says his prays he should thank Doug Collins for building the Bulls and launching his career.

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Michael marcel4745 April 22 2014 at 10:48 AM

The NBA has always accommodated every coach to become successful. Black, pink, orange, brown, or white...all coaches are given plenty of rope onto which they can hang their self or pull a team up out of the cellar. Success IS success. The Knicks team has never been very cohesive. For whatever the reason, Carmello simply is unable to make the players around him better. Especially, when it appears Carmello must be the center of attention. Being from Denver, my wife and I would always comment how the Knicks had become Denver Nuggets....the East Coast version. Watch for Derek Fisher to become the next Knicks coach.

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Hello, Jeffrey April 21 2014 at 2:46 PM

Wow, all of these Monday morning coaches. When a team fails, someone is usually thrown on the fire. Head coaches, players. It's the Circle of Life. And to the one comment that evoked "Obamacare". Please take a pause for the cause......cause we are sick of you!

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andreaawill75203 April 21 2014 at 6:32 PM

wish coach woodson the best . knicks needs some players u can coach if u have great players.NO problem. Theres five players they need to let go , and start fresh.

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jbaer10314 April 21 2014 at 2:24 PM

While we're at it, let's blame Woodson for MH370, Obamacare and Lindsay Lohan's miscarriage.

Around here it's never enough for the coach to get his walking papers. The media and majority of fans have to beat his failures to smithereens. Personally, I'm disgusted with the politics surrounding the teams I root for. Woodson is gone, I pity him, and it's time to move on.

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