Earlier today, the New York Knicks lifted the interm tag from Glen Grundwald’s title. Grunwald was promoted to executive vice president and general manager. I think the move was necessary and warranted. In my opinion, Grunwald has done a good job with this team. He struck lightening with Jeremy Lin and he’s done well to bring Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler to the team this season. Well deserved, Glen Grundwald, well deserved.
Today, on his ESPN New York radio show, Stephen A Smith went on a spirited rant about how the Knicks should follow up Grunwald’s promotion by giving one to interm coach, Mike Woodson. In my opinion, it would be completely asinine for the Knicks to extend Woodson’s contract before the season ends. Here is why I say that.
There is absolutely no reason for the Knicks to do so. Woodson has been very good as the coach, having coached the Knicks to a 16-6 record, but there is no reason to extend him now. How soon we forget that Mike Woodson was unemployed last season. He is a good basketball coach. I won’t dispute that. But is he a top 10 coach in this league? I don’t think so.
Why would the Knicks strip themselves of the opportunity to grab a better head coach? I’m not arguing that Phil Jackson or Jerry Sloan would come to Madison Square Garden, but shouldn’t the Knicks at least look into that? I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to hire one of those coaches before I go out and extend Mike Woodson. Even if the Knicks cannot acquire one of those coaches, they should at least explore all their options. By extending Woodson now, the Knicks would be stripping themselves of due diligence that they have every right to pursue.
Now I understand that the Knicks have probably had preliminary talks with Jackson, Sloan, or whoever they want to pursue. They may have a good idea about the interest of Jackson or Sloan, however, they still should wait till after the season to extend Woodson. Let’s just say that the Knicks upset a first round opponent and lose in the second round in seven games. I’m not predicting that, this is solely for discussion. Lets say that before this playoff run occurs, the Knicks give Mike Woodson an extension. By giving Woodson an extension, the Knicks assume that Phil Jackson is not interested. However, after seeing the way the Knicks gel together and play in the playoffs, Jackson then becomes interested in the job. New York will have handcuffed themselves by extending Woodson, a good coach, and will be unable to pursue Jackson, a championship coach.
Mike Woodson is a good coach. I won’t argue that and not many people will. He is well respected around the league and has done a nice job in his stint as Knicks head coach. However, the Knicks do not owe Woodson anything. Grundwald has been with the team since 2006. He has paid his dues. Mike Woodson has been a member of the Knicks coaching staff for 64 games. He has been the head coach for 24 games. The Knicks do not owe him a single thing. If Woodson feels differently, then he is completely out of line. I don’t believe he feels this way, I was purely speculating. Woodson may be the head coach next season, which is fine in my book, but that shouldn’t be determined until the off-season. By extending Woodson now, the Knicks would be stripping themselves of the ability to reel in a better coach.