Mike Woodson believes he still will be Knicks' coach after the All-Star break
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Could Wednesday night's game against Sacramento be Mike Woodson's last as the Knicks' coach?
Woodson certainly doesn't think so. Despite continued speculation about his job security, he reiterated to reporters at the team's practice facility Monday that he expects to be coaching the team when the players return from this weekend's All-Star break.
Woodson was asked if he had received any assurances from team management that he will remain the coach.
"No. Again, you guys, this is not about me. Unless you guys know something I don't know, then the only thing I can say is I'm going to be back," Woodson said. "Unless you guys know something, I'm the coach of the Knicks, and that's all I know at this point."
The Knicks (20-31) have dropped four of their last five games, the most recent a 112-100 loss in Oklahoma City on Sunday. Woodson acknowledged to reporters before that game that he had talked with his players about his job status and told them not to let it impact them because he is "a big boy" who can handle the pressure.
The Knicks originally were scheduled to practice Monday but changed it to a recovery day with a voluntary practice. No players were made available to talk with the media.
Woodson's job security has been a topic of speculation most of this season, and things have heated up the past couple of weeks. On Sunday, Maurice Cheeks became the first NBA coach to be fired this season after the Pistons got off to a 21-29 start. That's one more win than the Knicks have, and -- unlike Detroit -- they were projected by many to be an Eastern Conference contender.
Last season, Woodson led the Knicks to 54 wins and their first playoff series win in 13 seasons. Injuries to key players, most notably Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Andrea Bargnani, and some early-season drama with J.R. Smith have combined to produce what Woodson last week described as "kind of a disaster from a coaching standpoint in trying to get players to compete and play at a high level."
When asked if there is one thing he'd like to change about the season, Woodson said, "If I could go back at the very beginning and have healthy bodies, that would be the change."
Yet he still thinks his team can turn things around.
"I think at the end of the day, we've kind of dug a hole. Only we can dig out of the hole," he said. "And I think we still can in terms of making it to the playoffs, and that's the only thing that should be on anyone's mind at this point. We've got to get mentally and physically ready for Sacramento and then we've got two or three days off as a ballclub to think about and reflect where we are as a ballclub and go from there."
And Woodson believes that, at least after the All-Star break, he still will be here to go there with them.
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