NBA Eastern Conference Blog: The Future of Carmelo, Woodson and the Knicks


Mike Woodson said a few weeks ago that this Knicks season has been “kind of a disaster.”  That pretty much sums it up.  In a historically weak Eastern Conference, the Knicks find themselves with a record of 20-32, 2.5 games out of a playoff spot.  The Knicks are a terrible team right now.  Their predicament raises a series of questions: What can they do to become a playoff contender?  Should they trade Carmelo Anthony and undergo a massive overhaul? Will Mike Woodson remain the head coach for the rest of the season?

So, should Mike Woodson be fired?  I have gone back and forth on this question, but never once have I thought that the situation is his fault.  Outside of Carmelo, almost everybody on the team has been performing severely below expectations.  Tyson Chandler, former defensive player of the year, has seemingly lost his intimidation factor near the rim.  Even though he has been plagued by injuries, he seems mentally drained as well.  Simply put, Raymond Felton has been absolutely dreadful, leaving fans clamoring for the good old days of Jeremy Lin.  Despite flashes of excellence, Iman Shumpert has regressed this year, displaying less of his dynamic athleticism and more of his inefficient jump shot.  Let’s not even get started on J.R. Smith’s year.  So, the Knicks’ current situation is hardly Woodson’s fault. Even though I do not think he deserves to be fired, it might be a good thing for the team.  The last time the Knicks fired a head coach (Mike D’Antoni, replaced by Woodson) the team immediately went on a tear.  Sometimes, teams just need a major change to get fired up and turn things around.  It is unfortunate that this is the case, since Woodson in no way deserves to be fired for the mediocre performances of his players.  However, Carmelo Anthony has expressed confidence that Woodson will not be fired, and I am inclined to agree that this is the right course of action.  Firing Woodson has the potential to spark a run in the short term, but it just will not change the DNA of a bad team.

I also do not think the Knicks should look to trade away Carmelo.  Despite being constantly derided for his failure to win in big situations, the Knicks’ horrible season is anything but Carmelo’s fault.  His 27.3 points per game is second in the league, and he is averaging a career high in rebounds with 8.6 per game.  He will be vital to the Knicks’ long-term success, especially considering the news that broke over the All-Star break.  In an interview, Carmelo claimed that he would take a pay cut to re-sign with the Knicks.  It is a sad fact, but in this age where the NBA superstars feel the need to partner up in order to win, and this dictates the success of many teams.  For the Knicks, however, this is good news.  If Carmelo decides to re-sign for less money, the Knicks can have the cap space to sign a high-profile free agent when the time arrives.

So, it seems like the best course for the Knicks is to stay with what they currently have and refrain from making a big change just for the sake of it.  It will not help their success this season, but let’s face it, even if they do make the playoffs there is no way they can get past Miami or Indiana.  They should set their sights on the future, and the best way to ensure future success is to keep their superstar.