There have been sporadic rumors that Mike Woodson's job was in trouble dating back to like November. There have been repeated IF THEY LOSE THIS GAME HE'S REALLY DONE HE REALLY IS leaks, rumors that the Knicks had Allan Houston lined up as a successor, and so forth. For a while, the players publicly had his back, but as Steve Popper notes, guys have started to grumble obliquely about their coach or just flee the media entirely. Popper also reports the following (emphasis mine):
And what they had to say wasn't exactly reassuring - Woodson's words not encouraging for the team's fading chances and in particular, the usually positive Stoudemire's words not encouraging for Woodson, whom one league source said could be removed before the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
That's all there is today. Popper also reported the "desperate" Knicks were "pushing to oust" Woodson, which reads most strangely. Teams don't usually have to "push" to fire a coach. They just do it because they are in charge. One thing that could complicate matters is not having a successor, but it's not unusual to fire a coach, tread water with an interim, then start fishing for a real replacement in the offseason. Another thing that could complicate matters is if, say, that coach submitted years ago to the mega-agency to which most of the organization is beholden and every last tentacle of that mega-agency has to give a thumbs-up to turning on one of their men before the team can comfortably fire a terrible coach.
Well, I don't want to say "terrible coach" as if it's exactly that simple. I suspect Woodson's rotational decisions must be governed somewhat by pressure from above to play certain players-- Andrea Bargnani in particular. I also suspect some of Woodson's strategic decisions have been undercut by players not giving full effort or attention to detail. But in the middle of all that sits Woodson, and he's been the one holding the reins, steering the Knicks repeatedly toward their own demise despite having all the information to tell him what works, then explaining away his decisions with condescension and excuses. Mike Woodson should be fired. He should have been fired a while ago. I have no idea why the trade deadline plays into this at all. I'm not confident he will be fired soon even after this report, nor am I confident his firing will lead to positive long-term change. It's just one thing that ought to happen.