Mike Woodson 'bracing' for worst

ByChris Broussard and Marc Stein ESPN logo
Friday, April 18, 2014

While it is widely believed that the New York Knicks have already made the decision to move on from coach Mike Woodson, sources tell ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that nothing will be announced this weekend.

Woodson's fate is likely to be announced early next week.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN that Woodson is "bracing" for the worst, especially after the Knicks conducted exit interviews with players Thursday without the coach present.

It is thought, however, that Woodson has not been told of his fate.

A league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley that Woodson is not interested in having a face-to-face meeting with team president Phil Jackson until he gets further clarification on his status.

Jackson and Knicks owner James Dolan addressed the Knicks after their final game Wednesday, a Knicks player confirmed to ESPN New York on Friday night.

Jackson commended the team for its effort and complimented Woodson but made it clear there would be personnel changes this summer, the player said.

"He credited Woody," the player said. "But he also said that there's going to be changes, some of us won't be in this room next year."

The player said Jackson told the Knicks that they owed a lot of gratitude to Woodson. The player also said Jackson said the team needed to start "thinking differently" and thinking about "what we can do to contend" for a title.

Dolan, who told staffers on the eve of the season that he thought the Knicks could contend for an NBA title, told the players Wednesday that he was "disappointed by the season, that he had higher expectations," the player said.

"He said we left the fans wanting more," the player said.

The player said Dolan added that the Knicks "have to start thinking about a championship, and he told us that it starts [Thursday]. It was a great speech."

Jackson's and Dolan's postgame speeches were earlier reported by the New York Daily News.

The Knicks' subpar performance this season has led to widespread speculation about Woodson's future.

On Wednesday, the coach said he'd like a resolution on whether he will return next season as soon as possible. On Friday on "SportsCenter," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Woodson would prefer that Jackson reach out to his agent if he's going to fire him rather than have a face-to-face meeting to inform him he's being let go.

The widespread belief in NBA coaching circles remains that the job will be Steve Kerr's if he wants it, as reported by ESPN.com from the day Jackson was introduced as Knicks president in March.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher also has been mentioned as a possibility as a coach or for a front-office position. Fisher said going into this season, his 18th, that it would be his last as a player, but it's believed he prefers a future on the executive side to coaching.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley was used in this report.

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