Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/2/13
Carmelo Anthony is happy the Knicks picked up the option on Mike Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season. But the Knicks superstar insisted he didn’t lobby owner James Dolan or general manager Steve Mills to make the move. “No I didn’t have any input or anything like that with the front office” Anthony said on Tuesday after the Knicks completed their first practice of the 2013-14 preseason. “Obviously they picked his option up and made some moves but I’ve been staying away from that.” With or without Anthony’s endorsement Woodson deserved what amounts to a pat on the back for guiding the Knicks to their first Atlantic Division championship since 1993-94. A 54-28 record last season earned a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. And though a loss to the Pacers in the semifinals was disappointing the Knicks got past the first round for the first time since 2000 and became one of the league’s elite teams again. But whether Woodson still has his current job when he spends his money in 2014-15 depends on how the Knicks do in 2013-14. The goal is to win an NBA championship. But they must first get through the long grind of what figures to be a hotly contested regular season. The Heat the Pacers the Bulls and the rebuilt Nets will all be difficult matchups for the Knicks who must prove they can hold up physically and mentally over an 82-game season. Each night is a rivalry. That’s great for the fans but tough on Woodson whose challenge is to make sure his team can go the distance and be better prepared for the postseason than it was last year when much of his squad was either fatigued or injured. Despite their regular-season success the Knicks broke down. Jason Kidd played too many minutes early in the year and was of little use in the spring. Rasheed Wallace Kurt Thomas Marcus Camby and Amar’e Stoudemire were in and out of the lineup before becoming non-factors in the playoffs. Even Tyson Chandler wore out a bad knee and a bulging disk in his neck contributing to his fatigue. Woodson can be questioned for playing Kidd too much early on and not giving Stoudemire’s knees enough rest. And he didn’t have any answers for the Pacers in the playoffs. But overall he has shown capable of getting the most out of his players including Anthony and the unpredictable J.R. Smith. He’ll be asked to the do same with Metta World Peace who might be more unpredictable than Smith and Andrea Bargnani a former first-round pick who averaged 21.4 points per game three seasons ago in Toronto but needs to regain his confidence. “He’s one of those gifted players that I think I can reach” Woodson said of Bargnani. “Hopefully he can help our team win basketball games.” Woodson first has to find the right combinations to win games and then manage their minutes so he doesn’t wear out his roster. Then we’ll see if he can improve his Xs and Os during the playoffs. “We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything possible to preserve them for the whole season” Woodson said of players such as Metta Stoudemire Kenyon Martin and even Chandler.
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