Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — As the Knicks gear up for the start of the playoffs this weekend, it’s all one big happy family as superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are both stumping for interim head coach Mike Woodson to return next season.
“Would I love to see him around here past this year, and of course,” Anthony said Tuesday, reiterating comments he made to Hannah Storm of ESPN.
Anthony has thrived under Woodson, averaging 31 points in the month of April on 50 percent shooting.
“Just to see what he’s [brought] to our team, the confidence that he’s instilled into everybody, the belief that he has in everybody,” Anthony added. “Just his coaching style, the way he’s coached, kind of a hard-nosed coach. Hold everybody accountable out there, saying that everybody is responsible for their own actions. I would love to see him back around here.”
Stoudemire, who was more of a Mike D’Antoni guy and also committed to potential Knicks coaching candidate John Calipari at Memphis, also endorsed Woodson.
“Coach Woodson has done a great job for us,” Stoudemire said. “He’s done a phenomenal, phenomenal job. I love his attitude. I love his coaching style. It would be nice.”
With two games to play in the regular season, the Knicks currently are tied for the No. 7 seed in the East but have the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Woodson said he was pleased to hear Anthony and Stoudemire’s comments, but was more concerned with the upcoming playoff run.
“Absolutely, I would love to come back,” said Woodson, who is 16-6 since taking over for D’Antoni. “I think when you’ve been given an opportunity to start something, you’d love to finish it. But again that’s not my call and I think when that time comes I’ll probably have an opportunity to sit down and talk to Mr. [Jim] Dolan and management about it and hopefully it will work in my favor.
“But right now that’s not my concern. My concern is finishing these two games and getting this team in the playoffs and see how we could continue to play on. That’s what it’s all about.”
In order to move up to No. 6, the Knicks need to win both remaining games at home Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers and on Thursday at Charlotte and they need Orlando to lose Wednesday at home against Charlotte and then on the road Thursday at Memphis.
“It’s jammed at the bottom, so many different scenarios,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who will start Wednesday after sitting out Sunday’s 113-112 win over Atlanta to rest. “The only thing we can do is concentrate on what we have to do. We want to win our last two games and go into the playoffs with good momentum.”
It’s possible several players, including Chandler and Anthony, could rest Thursday if the Charlotte game is meaningless for the playoff standings…Woodson said he would give newly acquired center Dan Gadzurik “a look” against the Clippers “with all the bigs that they have to see how he fares a little bit.”…On Jeremy Lin’s Tweet Sunday that he jogged for the first time since knee surgery, Woodson said: “This is the first I’ve heard of that today. I’m not a Twitter guy. I’m so old school. I still have a flip phone. That’s new news to me but that’s a good sign if he’s back out on the floor running a little bit. But we can’t wait on him. We gotta still push forward and when he tells me he’s ready to make it back into a uniform then we’re going to welcome him with open arms and try to fit him in and do what we need to do.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.