Brown, the current SMU and former Knicks coach, is aware that the Knicks (20-32) are struggling and that there have been multiple reports indicating Woodson could soon lose his job, especially after the Knicks entered the All-Star break losing at home to the woeful Sacramento Kings.
But Brown said team owner Jim Dolan “likes” Woodson and believes he’ll “do the right thing by” him.
“I think Dolan likes Woody,” Brown, who coached the 2004 Detroit Pistons to an NBA title with Woodson on his staff, told The Knicks Blog and SNY.tv in advance of Friday’s SMU-Rutgers game. “I think he has a great relationship with him. Woody’s a strong human being, man. He just focuses on what he can do to make things better. He doesn’t look at the bad stuff.”
Dolan entered the season saying he believed the Knicks could compete for an NBA championship, but they are about as far from that as you can get right now. If the playoffs started today, the Knicks would be on the outside looking in. They also have no first-round pick in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft.
They face uncertainty regarding the future of Carmelo Anthony, who this weekend will be surrounded in New Orleans by fellow All-Stars like LeBron James and Chris Paul, who serve as reminders of what winning in the NBA looks like and are no doubt whispering in Anthony’s ear as he gets set to opt out and become a free agent this summer.
“I can’t speak for Carmelo,” Brown said. “I know Carmelo and coach have a great relationship and Woody loves him.”
He added that he doesn’t think Anthony deserves blame for the Knicks’ struggles and it has more to do with the first-half injuries to Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani and others.
“I don’t like Carmelo getting all the blame,” Brown said. “I read a lot of that but I love Carmelo and I know Woody thinks the world of him.”
If Woodson remains as coach through this season but the Knicks fail to make the postseason, it’s entirely possible he could lose his job over the summer.
“I think Woody and Mr. Dolan have the same goals and I trust Dolan to do the right thing by Michael,” Brown said. “And I think Michael’s OK. He’s going to work his ass off and try to win and not think about the negative stuff. And that’s the only way you can do it in New York.”
Still, Brown himself is evidence that a Knick coach can be fired after a losing season. Brown was let go following a 23-59 record in the 2005-6 season.
“I lasted one year but I didn’t do the job Woody did,” Brown said, referring to Woodson’s 54-win campaign last season. “I did a shitty job.
“But there were a lot of people that gave Dolan mixed signals about me and I’m disappointed because people can say stuff about him but he wanted to win. He tried to help me but my problem was I never communicated with him. I never told him what I was thinking and other people did. That’s the issue that bothers me about that whole situation.”
While Woodson could face a fate similar to Brown’s, the SMU coach says Woodson isn’t anxious about his future.
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.