Mike Woodson had the Knicks on top of their division and in the second round of the playoffs, destinations that had become unreachable and practically unimaginable in New York.
A year later, he is out of job.
Phil Jackson fired Woodson and the entire coaching staff on Monday, making his first big move since becoming team president in March and saying in a statement that ‘‘the time has come for change throughout the franchise.’’
The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a serious contender in the East.
Instead, they started poorly, making Woodson’s job security practically a season-long distraction. A late surge wasn’t good enough for a postseason spot or another year for Woodson.
It was a stunningly swift fall for Woodson, whose .580 winning percentage with the Knicks ranks behind only Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, and who finished third in the NBA’s Coach of the Year voting last season after going 54-28.
He and the staff were informed of the decision Monday morning by Jackson, the man the Knicks originally wanted to replace Woodson as coach but preferred to run the team’s front office.
Jackson said he has a ‘‘tremendous amount of respect’’ for Woodson and his staff, which included longtime Knicks assistant Herb Williams. Jackson called this an ‘‘extremely difficult’’ season and said ‘‘blame should not be put on one individual.’’
Adelman walks away
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has decided to retire after 23 seasons in the NBA. He made the announcement Monday, five days after Minnesota wrapped up a disappointing 40-42 season. The decision brings an end to a celebrated coaching career that includes 1,042 victories, eighth on the NBA’s all-time list. He coached Western Conference powers in Portland and Sacramento and also had stops in Golden State and Houston. Adelman said the time is right for him to step aside and spend more time with his wife, Mary Kay, who has been treated for seizures over the last two years. He also thinks the Wolves need a fresh voice to help them try to persuade star power forward Kevin Love to remain in Minnesota . . . The Jazz are also searching for a new coach after declining to offer Tyrone Corbin a new contract. Corbin ends his stint with the Jazz with a 112-146 record. He guided the team to a winning record in two of his three full seasons and a playoff appearance in 2012. But the Jazz were dismal this season, going 25-57 and missing out on the playoffs for the second straight season.
The NBA said the call that resulted in Houston’s Dwight Howard fouling out Sunday was incorrect. Instead, the All-Star center should have received two free throws that could have given the Rockets the lead. Howard was called for his sixth foul with 10.8 seconds left in overtime while trying to get the rebound of James Harden’s missed 3-pointer. Portland’s Joel Freeland made one free throw, the final point in the Trail Blazers’ 122-120 victory. But replay showed Freeland with an arm around Howard’s back holding him. NBA president of operations Rod Thorn said in a statement that the foul should have been on Freeland . . . Bulls center Joakim Noah was selected the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, receiving 100 of a possible 125 first-place votes from a panel of writers and broadcasters. He joins Michael Jordan in 1988 as the only Bulls to win the award . . . Bobcats center Al Jefferson said his left foot remains extremely sore, but he plans to play in Game 2 Wednesday night against the Heat. Jefferson injured his foot in the first quarter of Sunday’s 99-88 loss . . . Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley was cleared to play in Game 2 against Portland after injuring his right knee Sunday.