Mike Woodson and the Knicks are closing a deal to add Woodson to Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff, SNY sources confirm.
Woodson coached the Knicks from 2012 to 2014, leading the club to its only win in the playoff series in the past 20 years.
In addition to Woodson, the Knicks are finalizing deals to add Andy Greer and Dice Yoshimoto to Thibodeau’s staff, SNY sources confirm.
Woodson, Greer and Yoshimoto join Johnnie Bryant and Kenny Payne on Thibodeau’s staff.
According to sources, the Knicks had already considered adding a sixth assistant to Thibodeau’s staff. It is unclear whether they currently intend to do so.
As reported by SNY, the Knicks also plan to add a significant number of player development coaches to Thibodeau’s staff, in addition to his assistant coaches.
Yoshimoto had previously worked with Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. Greer had been Thibodeau’s associate head coach in Chicago and for part of his tenure in Minnesota.
Woodson, Bryant, and Payne have never worked on Thibodeau’s staff.
Bryant is Thibodeau’s associate manager with the Knicks, so Greer has accepted a position lower on the bench to join Thibodeau’s staff.
In Chicago and Minnesota, Thibodeau mostly had his own circle of assistant coaches on staff. This will not be the case in New York, but both Thibodeau and Knicks management said hiring staff would be a collaborative process. Thibodeau said during his introductory press conference that he has no problems choosing his staff.
At Woodson, Thibodeau added one of the few coaches who has been successful in New York in the past 20 years.
Woodson amassed a record of 109-79 as Knicks head coach between 2012 and 2014.
Before coaching in New York, Woodson served as a head coach in Atlanta. The terms of Woodson’s contract were not immediately available.
Thibodeau has entered into a five-year contract with the Knicks. It is unclear whether all years of his contract are guaranteed.
Woodson, it is worth noting, has a strong relationship with team president Leon Rose.
Rose, a former CAA best players agent, represented Carmelo Anthony when he played for Woodson in New York. This is the second time Woodson will be assistant coach in New York.
He previously served as an assistant under Mike D’Antoni, leading the Knicks defense. Woodson took over from D’Antoni in March 2012 and led the Knicks to the playoffs.
The club won 54 games the following season and beat the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, New York’s first post-season series win since 2000. Former Knicks team president Phil Jackson sacked Woodson in the end of the 2013-14 season. The club suffered injuries earlier that season, but finished the year 16-4 once in full health and one game fewer than the eighth and last seeded in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In a recent interview with SNY, Woodson said that season was his best in New York.
“When we got into a hole, they didn’t stop,” Woodson said of the team. “And when we got our players back, we won 16 of our last 20 games and pushed hard to make it to the playoffs and lost for one game. That team could have easily left and said, “Let’s go home for the summer.” They didn’t. When we got Tyson (Chandler) and Raymond (Felton) back, we gave a crazy push and went back to playing Knick basketball again. We got our players back and we won.
“If they went to the other side and we kept losing, I can’t say anything. But it was not so. From a coaching point of view, that was my best year. Because we trained them at the end and we made a big push to finish eighth. And if we got it, Phil Jackson would have put a lot of pressure to make the decision he made. “Jackson fired Woodson the day after the regular season ended.
Woodson, Greer and Yoshimoto’s agreements with the Knicks were first reported by ESPN.