Mike Woodson Rumors

Rivers called Woodson after the Clippers were eliminated. “I was absolutely going to take a year off, take it easy and Doc called,’’ Woodson said. “I told Doc on the phone I’d probably take a year off. He said, ‘C’mon, I could use you.’ When a friend says that, it means a lot. I’m trying to reach to where I was in 2004 when I worked for Larry Brown [with the Pistons]. That is just a wonderful feeling to win that NBA title.’’
But the fired Woodson, now an assistant under Doc Rivers with the Clippers, isn’t reveling in the Knicks’ 5-28 start entering a New Year’s Eve tip-off against them at Staples Center. “Listen, I don’t wish losing on anyone,” Woodson said before Monday’s game against Utah. “I still have players that I’ve coached on that team that I have a great deal of respect for. I hate to see them going what they’re going through, but I’m in L.A. now. “Nobody likes to lose their job and sure I would’ve liked to stay in New York, but things change, man.”
That’s why Bill Smith, the former Broad Ripple coach who died at age 72 on Nov. 30, qualifies as one of the great ones. Forget all those winning records throughout his 23 seasons there. Forget, even, the state championship in 1980, when the Rockets pulled off the rare feat of an IPS school winning the title in the single-class system and he became the first black coach to lead an integrated team all the way. He should be remembered the way George Hill and Mike Woodson remember him. They were the greatest of his players, career bookends who went on to have successful NBA careers. Woodson played for Smith early in his coaching career, Hill at the very end of it. They don’t remember him as a coach. He was much more than that to them. “He kind of made me who I am today,” Hill said. “He gave me the fire, he gave me the strength to believe in myself.” Said Woodson: “He came into my life at a certain time when I really needed somebody.”
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It was apparent by Week 2 that Mike Woodson, then the team’s coach, was holding everything together with duct tape and bubble gum, and then things really got out of hand. The constant losing. The constant questions about Woodson’s job security. The constant speculation over Anthony’s future with the team, which he did little to address. “From Day 1 last year, the energy was just not right,” Anthony said, adding: “It was deeper than us just coming out here and losing basketball games. For whatever reason, it happened. We looked at that, and the organization looked at that, and made some great changes in that direction.”
The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that the team has added Sam Cassell, Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson as assistant coaches to the staff of Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers. The trio joins current assistant coaches Armond Hill and Brendan O’Connor as well as assistant player skills coaches JP Clark and Dave Severns on the bench. “We have an impressive and experienced group of coaches who are excited to get to work,” Rivers said. “Mike and Lawrence have enjoyed tremendous success as head coaches and Sam is someone who I coached as a player and respected as an assistant with the Wizards. I am excited to continue to work with the entire staff as we prepare for the season.”
The Clippers are also close to finalizing their coaching staff. Former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson joined Rivers’ coaching staff, which lost three assistant coaches this offseason, in July. He is expected to be joined by Sam Cassell, who was let out of his contract with the Washington Wizards last month, and Lawrence Frank, who is still under contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
With Gentry leaving, and with Clippers assistant coach Kevin Eastman becoming the team’s vice president of basketball operations, Coach Doc Rivers has two position to fill on his bench. Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Lawrence Frank and former New York Knicks Coach Mike Woodson are being considered for the Clippers’ openings. But it looks doubtful that Frank will join the Clippers because he’s still earning $1 million per season over the next five years from the Nets.
Rivers now has two assistant coach openings on his staff after Gentry’s departure and Kevin Eastman’s promotion to the Clippers’ front office. The Clippers are considering hiring former NBA head coaches Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank, who coached under Rivers with the Boston Celtics, for their openings, a source said. Rivers was supportive of Gentry’s decision to go to Golden State, sources said.
As the Knicks continue pursuing Steve Kerr to be their new coach, their old one is hoping to get back in the game. Mike Woodson, whom the Knicks fired April 21, said he wants to coach next season. “My interest right now is still coaching,” Woodson said during a phone interview promoting his golf tournament in Las Vegas in July. “I enjoy doing it. I’ve been doing it for the last 20-plus years and I love the NBA.”