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New York Knicks Players Bash Mike Woodson During Exit Interview

April 25th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Matt Agne

Mike Woodson was recently fired. He and his entire coaching staff was let go so Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks could go in another direction. However, despite public support from Carmelo Anthony, several players went out of their way to bash Woodson during their exit interviews with Jackson.

'Phil Jackson' photo (c) 2005, Jeramey Jannene - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Mike Woodson was very likely to be fired one way or another. Phil Jackson wants to put his mark on the New York Knicks and introduce his triangle offense to the organization. For that to happen Woodson had to go. However, players bashing Woodson on their way out the door didn't help his cause at all. If anything, it reaffirmed Jackson's decision to move on from Woodson.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports players blamed the coaching for the results of the season, not the talent level of the roster.

“One of the messages from the players was that it was a very talented team,’’ Jackson said. “They had to have a lot of games where they forced their talent on opposing teams rather than playing with freedom to make things easy. All the wins were hard to get. They were winning with talent and not with team play, which I thought was an accurate statement.

“I think the talent’s there,’’ Jax added. “How to blend it together is a coaching decision and a personnel decision.’’

Some players didn't exactly get along all season. Amare Stoudemire took shots at J.R. Smith a few times after games. Sometimes players questioned how they were being used. Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin both questioned their minutes.

'Jason Kidd, Mike Woodson' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Many questioned the ball movement. Anthony didn't want to play power forward and then didn't want to stop. Clearly not everyone was happy with Woodson's schemes and decisions.

However, did anyone expect the roster to go out of its way to bash Woodson during their exit interviews? Smith said he thought Woodson deserved another year with the Knicks and that Woodson and he were close.

Anthony publicly supported Woodson and said he wanted him to return as head coach next season. He even went as far as to call him a father figure.

However, both Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler went public with their distaste for Woodson's tactics. It must have been interesting to listen to what the players had to say.

The bottom line is, the players knew Woodson was on his way out anyway. They took advantage and made him the fall guy for their short comings this season. 

Coaching is a major factor but the players failed to perform on a consistent basis this season and it cost them in the end. That's why the Knicks didn't have a playoff birth this season after winning 4 games the year before.

In the end, you can't fire the players. However, you can fire the coach. No matter what the players said Jackson was likely to move forward in another direction anyway. That being said, it would have been nice if the players treated the situation with a bit more class and taken responsibility for their play.

'I Blame You' photo (c) 1996, Bart Everson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Mike Woodson, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Tyson Chandler

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