Good morning, P&T! Happy birthday, Trina! I aspire to post about some actual basketball things today, but first: The air is dank with talk of BLOW-UPS and DUST-UPS and HOT SEATS and RUN-INS and...SHAPE-UPS and LOVE-INS and all sorts of scandalous two-word phrases from the last few days. Let's just shovel it out there so we know where things reportedly stand.
HOT SEAT! Both Frank Isola and Marc Berman published articles Monday night suggesting Mike Woodson's time could be running out. Not on, like, life. He's just on the coaching hot seat after nine straight losses. Even after James Dolan gave Woodson a vote of confidence just a few weeks ago, both reporters agree that: 1. Dolan has dialed up the heating coils under Woodson's chair after nine straight losses 2. The game on Thursday against the equally awful and injury-wracked Nets matters a lot in Dolan's decision-making (which is inane). Berman goes on to suggest that Jeff Van Gundy "would not be ruled out as a future candidate" to replace Woodson.
Regarding the above: I think the Knicks are being coached wrong and I would like for them to be coached differently, but from all we've heard about organizational meddling, I'm not sure how canning Woodson would change things. I hope the Knicks would go after someone more creative and give that creative person autonomy, but I don't have faith in any of that. And I have trouble imagining a Jeff Van Gundy-Knicks reunion ever happening, especially from Van Gundy's end. Would YOU come work for the Knicks a second time after the way the last stint ended? I guess anything's possible, but all Berman said is the Knicks would not rule Van Gundy out. That might not be mutual.
I've always assumed Woodson had some staying power because he joined CAA and responded well to direction from above, but: 1. I don't actually know anything 2. A huge losing streak punctuated by defeat at the hands of the owner's sandbox rival could undo any ties. Berman and Isola both having that one makes it seem like something.
Of course, now the Knicks will probably beat the (awful, severely depleted) Nets Thursday night and Woodson will get a victory parade and Dolan will do another interview just to give Woodson seventeen more votes of confidence and this will all be forgotten.
(Side note: Who is Woodson's lead assistant? Would Herb Williams become the interim coach for a THIRD time? Would it be Jim Todd? Either would make me very happy, though since Todd and most of the rest of the staff are Woodson's guys, maybe the second scenario is implausible.)
DUST-UPS! Oh my! So, we got to see a "blow-up" this weekend when Iman Shumpert was seen shouting at Carmelo Anthony after a bad defensive switch. Guys sometimes shout at each other in the heat of battle, especially when things are going poorly, but that was made into a big deal because Shumpert is on the trading block and stuff. Berman paints the RUN-IN as a factor that could accelerate Shumpert's exile. I suspect the leg punting Shump out the door is already past the point that it needs accelerating. I reckon the Knicks are just waiting until signed free agents become tradeable on December 15 (remember that Dolan mentioned that date, overstating its importance, in that one interview), but okay.
But that's not all! Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace had a DUST-UP during shootaround on Sunday. They did not punch each other (you would have felt the seismic activity), but they did get heated. That happens sometimes. Metta downplayed it. As Melo would say, we move on. (As Melo would also say: "We need to fix our mental status.)
Oh, and Berman would like to remind us that the run-ins date back to the first loss of the season, when Shumpert and Tyson Chandler apparently shouted at each other. That sounds like a thing that happened, but there's been so much shit since then that it's become vague in my memory.
So, what have we learned? Shumpert was probably going to get traded, and is still probably going to get traded, just not yet. Mike Woodson's job may actually be in jeopardy, perhaps unless his team can outplay Alan Anderson and friends. Kenyon and Metta got mad, but somehow no one has died. This is how you do a proper chin-up. Good talk!