Phil Jackson made his first big move since becoming president of the New York Knicks last month -- he fired coach Mike Woodson and the rest of the coaching staff.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff,” Jackson said in a news release Monday announcing the move. “The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and 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.
“Everyone in this franchise owes a great deal of gratitude to what Mike and his staff have done. We wish him the best.”
Jackson, 68, coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and the Lakers to five more using the triangle offense. But he has insisted that he has no intention of coaching the Knicks and that he won’t require the team to use his beloved system.
After replacing the fired Mike D’Antoni during the 2011-12 season, Woodson led the Knicks to an 18-6 finish and a playoff berth. The following year, the team went 54-28, won the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1994 and claimed its first playoff-series victory since 2000.
But a dismal start led to near-constant speculation about Woodson’s job status this season. Even after winning 16 of their last 21 games, the Knicks finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs, apparently sealing Woodson’s fate.