BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Larry Brown thinks the New York Knicks have mistreated coach Mike Woodson. If they are going to replace him, he believes it should be with Phil Jackson.
The Knicks hired Jackson as team president, but Brown finds it “troublesome” that Jackson won’t be coaching.
“You’re not going to make the Knicks better by living in L.A. and being there half the time and not talking to your coach,” Brown said Monday in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio. “Let him coach. He was the best coach probably ever. Let him coach.
“If that’s the way they want to do it, let him coach and give Woody a way to leave graciously. But he’s out on the limb and that’s not fair. For a guy that really turned that franchise around and made people proud of the way they played, I don’t think he’s been treated fairly and that really bothers me.”
Brown also criticized general manager Steve Mills, who was brought back to the organization last summer when Glen Grunwald was surprisingly fired shortly before training camp.
“I don’t know what he knows about the sport to be honest with you,” Brown said. “I was with him. Isiah (Thomas) knows a lot. Isiah’s a bright guy. I don’t agree with the way he treats people but he was a bright guy. Steve Mills has no clue.”
Brown, a Hall of Famer, is now the coach at SMU. He was fired in 2006 after one turbulent season as the Knicks’ coach. Woodson, his former assistant in Detroit, led the Knicks to the playoffs the last two years but they are 33-45 and could be eliminated from contention this week.
Woodson led the Knicks to 54 victories last season and the franchise’s first Atlantic Division title since 1994. The team picked up the option on his contract for next season back in September, but by December, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was asking Jackson if he wanted to coach the team.
Jackson declined but the Knicks hired him last month to run the front office. He has said he and Woodson will have a discussion after the season, but Brown thinks the best replacement for Woodson would be Jackson himself.
“That’s the way the Knicks get better and give Mike a chance to leave graciously,” Brown said. “Because he did a lot for that team, and that’s unfortunate, I don’t think you treat people like that. And in the long run there is bad karma when you do that.”
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)