Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
“He’s gotta go, guys,” someone near Anthony said as the Knicks star was whisked away Friday night following the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center.
The person was referring to Anthony’s imminent departure from the media, not Woodson’s fate with the Knicks.
Anthony was on hand to support the event and offer MVP awards to Duke-bound big man Jahlil Okafor and Kansas pledge Cliff Alexander, both of whom are projected lottery picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, when the Knicks will have a pick, as opposed to 2014, when they do not.
“They stellar. They aint the top of the crop for no reason, so I think they very impressive today,” Anthony told SNY.tv of the big men. “Without a doubt [they can play in the NBA], without a doubt.”
The Knicks have yet to issue a statement on Woodson’s future and we may have to wait through the weekend and possibly into next week before finding out what Knicks President Phil Jackson will do next.
ESPN.com offered the headline that Woodson is “bracing for the worst” despite the fact that it’s painfully obvious Woodson will likely lose his job after the the team failed to make the postseason following a 54-win season a year ago.
“You can point the fingers in a lot of directions,” Woodson, who has one year remaining on his contract, said Wednesday before coaching what may be his last game with the team, a win over the Toronto Raptors. “At the end of the day, normally the coach is the guy who gets blamed. That’s just the nature of our sport.”
Attention has already turned to Woodson’s successor, with TNT analyst and former GM Steve Kerr a potential candidate because of his ties to Jackson and his familiarity with the triangle offense.
The New York Post sited a source close to the situation as saying that Kerr “absolutely expects” to be offered the job.
Last month, Kerr confirmed to SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog that he would like to coach in the NBA at some point but he did not wish to comment on the Knicks’ situation.
“Yeah, I’ve said that publicly many times but, I’m not going to even go down that path for obvious reasons,” Kerr said.
Woodson, 56, has gone 109-79 in two-plus seasons with the Knicks. According to Mike Lupica of the Daily News, all Knicks coaches following Jeff Van Gundy and leading up to Woodson went 185 games under .500, while Woodson is 30 games over .500 in his Knick tenure.
But after leading the team to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2013, Woodson’s team dealt with injuries throughout the season to Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin and others and failed to live up to expectations. The Knicks did not make the playoffs in a poor Eastern Conference, finishing in ninth place, and have no draft pick in the upcoming loaded NBA Draft.
Still, they finished strongly, winning four straight and seven of nine to finish 37-45.
Though Woodson appeared to be undercut by recent comments from Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire, Anthony backed Woodson during his exit interview with the press on Thursday.
“If he needs my recommendation whether it’s here or anywhere else, I’ll back him,” said Anthony, who intends to opt out and test free agency. “I have nothing bad to say about Mike Woodson. I support him. For me as a player, I had some of my best years under Mike Woodson.”
Still, that may not be enough for Jackson to keep Woodson going forward.
Asked Wednesday if it was fair that he might be fired, Woodson said, “I mean, not really. I was given an opportunity two years ago to take over a a team that was struggling and I made the most of it. Unfortunately, this year just didn’t go according to plan.
“Is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but I don’t make that decision. That’s gotta come from the top.”
Photo: Mike Scotto
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.