Adam Zagoria, Team ReporterLarry Brown is a friend and mentor to Mike Woodson, so he understandably will defend him at every opportunity.
When Brown learned that Knicks GM Steve Mills had reached out to Phil Jackson, he didn’t think it was right.
“I spoke to Woody today and why was Phil Jackson talking to them? They got a coach,” Brown, the current SMU and former Knicks coach, told SNY.tv’s The Knicks blog by phone. “Woody’s just going to do his job I’m sure. But that’s not right.
“Woody’s got a relationship with Mr. Dolan, I can’t believe that he’d have done that.”
He added: “Things like that happen in the NBA, it happened to me twice.”
It’s unclear if the Knicks are interested in Jackson coming to New York to be the GM or the coach, but it’s hard to imagine him reporting to Mills if he ever came to the Knicks. Brown said Jackson would likely want complete organizational control and would only want to report to owner Jim Dolan.
“Jackson’s not going to take that job unless they give him all the money and complete control, I don’t think,” Brown said. “I don’t want to speak for him. But they got a coach. Mike’s the coach. And I spoke to him today. He’s a resilient guy. He’s going to do the best he can.”
The Knicks enter tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz 5 1/2 games back of the No. 8 seed in the East, and the widespread perception in New York is that Woodson won’t return as the coach next season. Many wonder why Dolan hasn’t put him out of his misery already.
“As I sit here today I’m the coach of the New York Knicks and I’m not going to entertain anything about Phil,” Woodson said pre-game. “I have a great deal of respect for Phil Jackson but I’m not going to entertain anything about Phil Jackson. My job is to try to get this team to play at a high level and we got a big game tonight against Utah and we gotta get ready to play.”
Neither Mills nor owner Jim Dolan has given Woodson a public show of support and have left Woodson to answer questions about the team’s uncertain future and his questionable status going forward.
“Again guys, I’m the coach of the Knicks,” Woodson said. “To me that means a lot. This is 30 years of me being in the NBA and I enjoy what I do…This has been kind of a rollercoaster ride for our ballclub this year but on the flipside of that is that we still have an opportunity to make the playoffs. Any coach, the only thing you can ask is being able to get in the playoffs.”
Brown insists Woodson will fight until the very end and try to make the Knicks viable.
“Woody’s great,” Brown said. “He’s going to coach and do the best he can. He’s on a one-game winning streak and he’s got a game tonight so I know him. He’ll just keep plugging away.
“But I don’t know how you work for somebody and 1) you know you have a coach and 2) you approach another coach, and that coach would never talk to you,” Brown said. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”
The Knicks didn’t approach Jackson the last time around when there was an opening.
“Why would you talk to the Knicks when you know they have a coach?” Brown said of Jackson.
“But I feel for the players as much as Woody. They’re fighting to make the playoffs. There’s still 20 games left and they’re still trying to win, and I know he’s trying to win. Hopefully, they’ll get some healthy people back and it will work out alright.”
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.