You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Knicks.
What happened to Steve Stoute? Haven’t heard from him since that controversial ESPN interview. — Robert
Now in his fifth month, Stoute still is working as a Knicks branding consultant in charge of improving the images of James Dolan and the Knicks. But he couldn’t prevent the recent Statementgate.
Stoute, who is African-American, is involved and had a hand in Dolan finally releasing Tuesday’s statement related to the Black Lives Matter movement — which was purposely distributed on the day of George Floyd’s funeral.
The statement, coming after all other NBA teams had said their piece, still was viewed in some circles as too late and rubbed Dolan’s detractors the wrong way for being too brief and vague. That’s the lens through which Dolan is viewed. He can do nothing right even when he has been the NBA’s leader in African-American front-office hires.
Hired on Jan. 23, Stoute has made no headway nor has he done himself any favors. His February appearance on ESPN in which he stated the Knicks will bring in a new coaching staff to develop the young players was a faux pas. The Knicks released a statement contradicting Stoute. You can’t make it up. Interim Mike Miller still is being considered to remain as head coach.
Under Stoute’s watch, Dolan’s approval rating sunk further with his needless spat with Spike Lee on March 2. Stoute’s goal was to bring Charles Oakley back to the Garden and things are at an impasse. The first “Sell The Team’’ chants rang out at the Garden in the final home games under Stoute’s watch. Stoute can only go up from here.
Do you view the potential hiring of Thibs in the same way as when the Giants hired (Tom) Coughlin? — Tim
It appeared the perfect time for the woeful Knicks to bring in a gruff taskmaster who supports long practices and an old-school style of leadership and discipline. However, in light of historic events the past two weeks, Tom Thibodeau’s relentless style could at least make you pause at its timing. There’s a new sensitivity and new school emerging. Remember, Thibodeau was considered too demanding of young players in Minnesota. Perhaps Kenny Atkinson’s less-taxing approach is more in vogue. Rookie president Leon Rose will likely trust his instincts if he believes a military-type disciplinarian of Coughlin’s ilk and superb winning background is needed with a young roster.
Why isn’t Mark Jackson being considered to be the coach. He is a proven winner while making (the Warriors) who they are today. He played for the Knicks and is a native New Yorker. Jackson should be the coach and Patrick Ewing should be his assistant. — Ralph Decasseres
Especially during this moment of history, the Queens product would seem an obvious choice to get an interview like in 2018. Jackson did not respond to a phone message. Jackson deserves another head-coaching gig after his success in Golden State. The knock on Jackson is he took the easy way out after the Warriors fired him by going back to the broadcasting booth instead of trying his hand as a lead assistant.
Submit your Knicks questions to be answered in an upcoming mailbag
I loved Mike Woodson as coach but why did he get fired? And during his tenure was he known to not play younger players? — Darryl Walker
It’s one of Phil Jackson’s biggest mistakes — not keeping Woodson after the 2013-14 season. Jackson took over in March 2014 and Woodson’s club made a big run down the stretch to nearly steal a playoff berth. That season after the 54-win landmark years was muddled with injuries before Woodson righted the ship. Woodson was willing to coach the triangle but Jackson never even talked to him once the season was over. Jackson hired the inexperienced Derek Fisher right after his retirement as a player and after Steve Kerr backed out. Woodson probably preferred veterans during that win-now mode but wasn’t averse to young players at all. Woodson got the most of any coach out of Carmelo Anthony. There’s little negative to say about Woodson’s stint as he finished with the third-highest winning percentage in team history (.580, 109-79).
We have a budding star in Mitchell Robinson. Why do we need to get Karl-Anthony Towns? — Mike
Why do you think we need Towns? (He costs) more than he is worth and simply hasn’t even gotten his team anywhere! — BB
Seriously? Mitchell Robinson has taken five jump shots in two seasons. It’s easy to knock Towns now after an injury-wracked season on a terrible Timberwolves club. But the former No. 1 pick in the draft is a stud — he earned his first All-Star berth under Thibodeau’s watch. He’s a career 22.7 ppg scorer with an average of 11.4 rebounds — still better than Kristaps Porzingis. Rose is his former agent, too. However, as we’ve noted, Thibodeau getting the job could preclude Towns as a future target. The videos of Robinson draining 3s are uplifting but having the confidence to do it a in game is different. Hopefully next season Robinson will be unleashed and will look at the basket when he gets the ball from 15 feet out.