Jackson fires entire Knicks coaching staff

The New York Knicks General Manager, Phil Jackson, has completed the firing of Mike Woodson and his entire coaching staff from the 2013-14 Knicks squad.

Coach Woodson, caught by ESPN cleaning out his office had the following to say:

“I’m not really entertaining anything with the media right now. I’m just trying to clear my head. That’s what I’m doing. … I’m fine. I have been doing this a long time. I’m good, really good. It’s time to move on.”

Not many players have yet to voice an opinion on the subject with the exception of  oft controversial J.R. Smith.

He was great to me. I think I got a fair shake for the first time in a while under him,” Smith told ESPN. “He treated me how he wanted to be treated. It sucks, but there is nothing I can do about it.  I think he did a great job. I think he did a good job with me. He responded to the players. It’s just a sad day for him, for me and my teammates.”

No word yet on who Jackson is looking at to replace Smith, but the current rumor is that it will have to be someone with extensive Triangle Offense knowledge.  Former PG Steve Kerr has been mentioned often in talks.

Athletes Gone Wild: Stoudemire Loses His Head and Knicks Lose Stoudemire

When athletes fight inanimate objects, the inanimate objects inevitably win. Amar’e Stoudemire is merely the latest star to be defeated by the true champion of professional sports: arena hardware.

when he punched the case outside the American Airlines Arena tunnel exit after the ’ 104-94 loss to the Heat in an N.B.A. playoff game Monday night. Paramedics had to treat Stoudemire in the locker room; he left the arena with his hand bandaged and his arm in a sling.

The decision to punch a solid aluminum object inside a glass-and-metal case may be irrational, but the athlete who lashes out and punches something inanimate and injurious is rarely thinking rationally.

“Their emotions hijack them,” said Charles Maher, a psychologist for the Cleveland Indians and professor emeritus at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

Stoudemire joins a long list of players who lost bouts with walls, doors, water coolers and other clubhouse furnishings. Many of these players had New York connections.

when he punched a clubhouse wall after being pulled from a loss to the Baltimore Orioles in 2004. Brown was able to return to the mound two weeks later because he heeded the advice Crash Davis gave Nuke LaLoosh in the film “”: he punched with his nonthrowing hand.

Another Yankees pitcher, to his hands after he slammed them into the plastic announcement holders attached to two swinging doors after getting a quick hook from a 2010 game. Burnett’s injury suggested that the design of the sharp-edged holders may have been as much to blame as the pitcher’s temper.

Mets pitcher Jason Isringhausen broke his left wrist in 1997 when he punched a dugout trash can after a poor outing in a minor league game. He toughed out six more innings for the Norfolk Tides, and the injury was not diagnosed properly until 11 days later.

“He’s not the first player to pound something after a bad inning,” Mets General Manager Joe McIlvaine said at the time. “Unfortunately, he broke something.”

Isringhausen later had a much more serious ailment to contend with: he missed the 1998 season while battling tuberculosis.

McIlvaine was correct about Isringhausen not being the first player to pound something: New York pitchers have long found the clubhouse to be nearly as dangerous as their opponents. Pat Zachry of the Mets tried to kick a batting helmet in frustration in 1978 but struck a clubhouse step instead, breaking his foot. Yankees pitcher Doyle Alexander offered to forfeit a part of his salary after he broke a little finger when punching a wall in 1982. George Steinbrenner accepted the offer.

The list of players with wall-related injuries is dominated by baseball pitchers.

“When they come off the field, especially following a poor performance, they typically are left alone by teammates,” Maher said. “It is during this time period when their emotions can get the best of them.”

Basketball players have unique issues to attend to when trying to vent their emotions productively. There is no dugout to shield them from the eyes of fans, and unlike hockey and football players, they cannot take their aggression out on their opponents without risking a Metta World Peace incident.

“They are out in the open, always visible,” Maher said.

But because they have no easy access to punchable furnishings, basketball players rarely sustain wall or door-inflicted injuries. Darryl Dawkins is one of the few athletes to record a victory in the battle against the building: after being ejected from a Philadelphia 76ers victory over Portland in 1977, he ripped a urinal from a bathroom wall. Dawkins was unharmed.

(Urinals are clearly the wimps among clubhouse fixtures. Billy Martin destroyed one during an angry tirade in 1983 and escaped unscathed.)

Marshall Mintz, a sports psychologist who consults with the United States Olympic team, calls the ability to control the impulse to lash out the “executive skill.” The familiar term “anger management,” he said, is somewhat misleading.

“The other guys in the locker room are angry,” he said. “Thousands of Knicks fans were angry after the loss, but there wasn’t an epidemic of people punching fire extinguishers in the metro area.”

Walsh Will Not Return as Knicks President

The Knicks announced in a statement Friday that Walsh and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan mutually agreed that Walsh will not return when his contract expires at the end of June, a somewhat surprising departure and major loss for a team coming off its best season in a decade.

The 70-year-old Walsh said he decided Thursday that he wasn’t up to Dolan’s request that he stay on for at least two years.

“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go and devote myself multiyear. On the other hand, I understand why he would want that,” Walsh said on a conference call.

It also opens questions about whether coach Mike D’Antoni will return for the final year of his deal, though Walsh indicated D’Antoni would stay.

“I know that he is the guy that can take this team to the next level,” Walsh said. “Mike wants to see the job through.”

Walsh apparently would have been back had he been willing to agree to stay for at least a couple of seasons, especially since the next one is in jeopardy because of the NBA’s labor situation. But he has battled health problems and was separated from most of his family, who remained in Indiana when he came to New York.

“I do miss my wife and my family, and this is a 24-7 situation, as a lot of GM situations are. This is even more intense,” Walsh said. “I’m running out of energy.”

Walsh spent three seasons in New York, leading a massive rebuilding effort that got the Knicks back into the playoffs this season following the acquisitions of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

But Dolan didn’t pick up his option for next season, and the two couldn’t agree on terms of an extension.

“In a relatively short time with the Knicks, Donnie made a tremendous impact, which will be felt for many years to come,” Dolan said. “We thank Donnie for his leadership, hard work and many contributions to the revitalization of the team.”

The Knicks said Walsh, who plans to move back to Indiana, will be a consultant next season. Senior vice president Glen Grunwald will serve as interim general manager.

Walsh arrived in New York following the 2007-08 season and immediately went to work cleaning up the mess left by Isiah Thomas. That meant spending two seasons reducing one of the league’s highest payrolls, getting the Knicks far enough under the salary cap to afford two top players last summer.

The Knicks got only Stoudemire but traded for Anthony in February and finished 42-40, their first winning record in a decade. They were swept by Boston in their first postseason since 2004, and the roster needs significant upgrades to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Walsh had said he wanted to return to make them, but his desire lessened as time went on, realizing that he couldn’t do the job at less than 100 percent. But he’s satisfied that he made enough steps to get the Knicks moving forward again.

“I’m not bailing. I do have the team where it is,” he said. “I understand that the franchise needs a commitment for more than one year.”

Walsh denied any friction with Dolan or Thomas, whom the owner has remained close with and was nearly hired last summer as an adviser.

“I don’t think Isiah Thomas had anything to do with basically anything I’m doing now,” Walsh said, calling reports of Thomas’ involvement “an annoyance.”

The highly respected Walsh came to his hometown team after spending 24 years with the Indiana Pacers. He joined their front office as general manager in 1986, became team president in 1988 and CEO in 2003, turning the franchise into a perennial Eastern Conference contender that reached the NBA finals in 2000.

He brought professionalism to a Knicks organization that had become an embarrassment on and off the court during Thomas’ reign, unloading some of the burdensome contracts that hindered them for years and relaxing the team’s media policies.

His draft record in New York was underwhelming — high lottery picks Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill are already gone, though Gallinari was used in the Anthony trade — but Walsh always said his focus was free agency, believing that was the quickest way to rebuild a team.

“I think I did that,” Walsh said. “I think I did the first step of that.”


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