Sources: James Dolan talked to team
Updated: December 27, 2013, 12:21 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Knicks chairman James Dolan told New York players in a meeting Thursday that there are no trades or changes to the coaching staff forthcoming, ESPN.com has learned.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Dolan gathered the team before the first practice in the wake of New York's embarrassing 29-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Christmas Day largely in an attempt to hush the growing speculation about coach Mike Woodson's job security following the Knicks' 9-19 start.
The discussion came amid increasing signs the Knicks' effort and focus under Woodson is waning on top of the significant injury issues that have plagued them all season.
It's believed Dolan took the step in an attempt to persuade Woodson's players to band together and throw their full support behind the embattled coach to help dig New York out of the sizable hole it finds itself with essentially one-third of the regular season in the books, the sources said.
When an emboldened Woodson met reporters after Thursday's practice, he promptly announced he still thinks New York can rally from its poor start to win the Atlantic Division.
"We won it last year, and I expect us to win it this year," he said.
Anything seems possible in the Atlantic Division, which is currently topped by the 11-15 Toronto Raptors. The Knicks are just three games back of Toronto and play the Raptors in a weekend back-to-back starting Friday night at home.
"The beauty about all of this that we're going through is nobody's running away with it in our division," Woodson said, "and I'm pushing our team to win our division still."
"Eventually we'll get healthy, and we'll see how it all plays out," he added.