If Doc Rivers Becomes Available Should the Knicks Call?

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By Charles R. Trimble III

No disrespect to the job Mike Woodson has done in his time as Head Coach of the Knicks, but can he really be the man to lead this organization to its first championship in over 40 years?

Woodson’s accomplishments as a coach are indeed impressive. He lead the team to its firs Atlantict Division Title in 19 years, has accumulated a record of 72-34, finished 3rd in Coach of the Year balloting, and most importantly helped ease the painful memory of Mike D’Antoni. But, while being eliminated in the conference semi-final round by the Pacers, the Knicks were exposed. More importantly, Woodson was exposed as a coach, lacking creativity. He was exposed as a coach who was slow to make adjustments, and he was exposed as a coach whose ceiling might only be the conference semi-finals.

That’s why the recent rumors of the possible availability of Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers, must peak some interest.  Unlike Woodson, Rivers has never been accused of lacking the ability to make in game adjustments, and in some circles is considered the premiere coach in the league. Rivers, who has a .554% overall winning percentage as Head Coach of both the Magic and Celtics, would make perfect sense.

For one, his tactical skills are unquestioned, he has already won a championship, and with Garnett and Pierce quite possibly playing their last games together as Celtics, seems to be itching for a new challenge. What greater challenge than bringing New York its first title since 1973?

The Knicks are not tied to Woodson contractually to the point where firing him would hurt financially for years to come, as Dolan’s pockets are quite large enough to satisfy a coach of Doc’s standing. Only question is how loyal will Dolan be to Woodson who has been a good soldier for the company, even going so far as to fire his longtime agent, Joe Glass, Larry Brown’s agent. Dolan’s admiration for loyalty has costs this franchise before, so kicking Woodson to the curb, no matter how right or wrong it might be, is probably highly unlikely.

But if the Knicks are truly in the business of competing for NBA Championships, then Glen Grunwald must at least make that call and see if Rivers in indeed interested in finishing the job he was unable to complete way back in 1994.

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