Mike Woodson was shown the door long before team president Phil Jackson started overhauling the roster. But Woodson said he wouldn't have traded Tyson Chandler and other members of the team that won the Atlantic Division two seasons ago.
"Had I stayed on board I probably would have pushed to keep Tyson and keep that core group together because that's what won the 54 games two years ago," Woodson, a Clippers assistant, said in his return to the Garden. "But people change and you've got to live with it and it's what it is.
"They've had a tough season so far and hopefully they can rebound this summer and put some pieces together and get back to winning."
It's amazing to consider how much the Knicks have changed and how far they have fallen. Only Carmelo Anthony remains from that 54-win team, and these Knicks are nearing 60 losses.
Their 58th loss came Wednesday night in humiliating fashion. The Clippers built a 40-point lead and rolled to a 111-80 victory.
Austin Rivers led the Clippers with 21 points. Cleanthony Early had 18 points for the Knicks, who shot 35.4 percent.
The Chandler trade to Dallas last June has been a bust for the Knicks (14-58). In January, Jackson sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland in a move that further pushed the Knicks toward the worst record in franchise history. They need two more losses and have 10 games to play.
The reality is Woodson, who was 109-79 in 21/2 seasons as coach, probably wouldn't have been back even if he guided the Knicks to the playoffs. They ended the 2013-14 season winning 16 of their last 21 games. The Knicks won 37 games, lost 45 and missed the playoffs by one game. "I think when Phil came in he has his mind made up based on what he wanted to do and I can respect that," Woodson said. "There's nothing I can say bad about Phil. Phil has had a helluva career as a coach and he had other ideas in terms of the direction he wanted to go."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was with the Celtics two years ago when the Knicks ousted them in the playoffs. He believed they were building something.
"Things change quickly," Rivers said. "Things have changed here. They had to make a decision. If you're building in the right direction, you keep building. If not, you try to tear it up and get it right. I think that's what they're doing, and that's what they're going through. It's probably the right decision."
Woodson said, "I've kind of moved on. Two years ago was a great run for our ballclub. A lot of things have changed since then. Hey, all I can say is I wish them nothing but the best and I truly mean that when I say that."
Notes & quotes:Alexey Shved's season could be over after an MRI revealed an incomplete fractured rib. He will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks. . . Langston Galloway sprained his right hand. X-rays were negative.