Although the franchise ultimately went in another direction with their recent head coaching hire, it appears as though former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson will nonetheless be making his return to the team. Per a Twitter report from ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Woodson will be joining the recently hired Tom Thibodeau’s staff as an assistant coach.
The organization is also finalizing deals with Andy Greer and Dice Yoshimoto, both of whom worked under Thibodeau during his tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Wojnarowski. The Knicks had previously hired former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne and Utah Jazz player development guru Johnnie Bryant.
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News also reported on the rounding out of the coaching staff, noting that Knicks interim coach Mike Miller, who took over for David Fizdale in December after the team’s 4-18 start, will not remain with the franchise and is currently exploring his options around the league.
Woodson, 62, had previously directed the Knicks from the sidelines for parts of three season, from 2012-2014. During the 2012-13 campaign, he led his squad to a 54-28 record and a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket. New York went on to beat the Boston Celtics in six games before falling to the third-seeded Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals.
That season marked the last time the Knicks had a winning record or qualified for postseason play. Moreover, his first-round usurping of the Celtics remains the organization’s only playoff series win since 2000.
Woodson was fired after the following season by legendary Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, the team’s president at the time, who subsequently installed one of his former players — Derek Fisher — to institute his triangle offense.
Woodson was in the running to land the top spot on the Knicks’ bench once again this summer, and had been interviewed multiple times for the position and reportedly had some level of support within the organization. But Thibodeau had largely been considered the favorite to win the job due to his relationship with current Knicks president Leon Rose, as well as his track record as a proven winner.
As it stands, the Knicks roster features a cadre of talented young players, including former lottery picks RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., as well as former first-rounder Bobby Portis and noted second-round steal Mitchell Robinson; all of whom are 25 years old or younger. However, the club finished at 21-45 this season and may be years away from reaching its potential.