Sports

Woodson Not Mad Knicks Wanted Jackson for His Job

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Phil Jackson waves to the crowd as he is introduced during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in New York. Jackson was hired as the president of the Knicks this week. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Phil Jackson waves to the crowd as he is introduced during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in New York. Jackson was hired as the president of the Knicks this week. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Woodson not only isn’t mad the New York Knicks wanted Phil Jackson for his job, he knows a guy if Jackson seeks a coach to run the triangle offense.

“Could I teach it? Absolutely I could teach it,” Woodson said Wednesday. “But it’d be even better if he’d help me teach it. That would be great. Who would be better in teaching the triangle than Phil Jackson?”

Woodson spoke for the first time since the Knicks’ news conference Tuesday, when he learned that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan originally talked to Jackson in December about coaching the team. Jackson wasn’t interested, and now the Knicks instead have hired him as team president.

“Mr. Dolan, this is his team, he has that right to talk to anyone about a coaching position,” Woodson said. “Again, I mean, he said it, it happened obviously. But again, I’m the coach of the Knicks right now and I still have a job to do.”

Jackson said he wouldn’t insist on the triangle, the offense he used to win an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach. But he spoke passionately about the offense and its principles, so it may be his hope.

Jackson met with the coaches and players earlier Wednesday and attended the Knicks’ 92-86 victory over Indiana, receiving a loud, standing ovation when shown on the overhead video board during a first-quarter timeout.

For now, Woodson said his only concern is trying to the get the Knicks into the playoffs. Jackson was supportive of Woodson and said Tuesday they would have a discussion after the season, so for now Woodson has hopes of returning.

“If that may be the case and I get that opportunity, sure I think I can — I know I can teach the triangle offense,” Woodson said. “I mean, it’s basketball. It’s what we do.”

Woodson said Milwaukee experimented with the offense when he was an assistant there under Chris Ford on a Bucks team that included Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson and Vin Baker.

Former Knicks president Isiah Thomas said during an interview Wednesday with SiriusXM NBA Radio that Woodson’s abilities shouldn’t be discounted.

“It’s been talked a lot about just how the next coach will come on. I think Phil is going to be pleasantly surprised when he sits down and has a conversation with Mike Woodson about his understanding of basketball and his understanding of implementing a triangle, if that’s what he wants implemented, and understanding the system and style of play,” Thomas said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

“We all come from championship backgrounds, we all come from championship philosophies and coaches and Woodson will not have a problem understanding and implementing the nuances of the triangle if that’s what Phil wants done.”

Jackson also said he had “no doubt” that Carmelo Anthony could be part of the Knicks’ future. The All-Star forward has said he plans to become a free agent this summer.

Anthony said before the game he was excited by what he heard from Jackson.

“I was hoping that I would be part of the future plans,” Anthony said. “I never once said that I wanted to leave New York or anything like that. Only thing I said was I wanted to dabble and try free agency out, I was going to opt out and become a free agent.”

___

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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