SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 28, 2013

In the Knick of time: Todd's hasty decision to join New York paying off

BOSTON – Former Salem State basketball coach Jim Todd has accumulated some strange adventures in his 14 years in the NBA, including nearly half a season as the interim head coach of the L.A. Clippers back in 2000.

For pure career craziness, however, probably nothing will ever top what Todd went through last season, when he was on the bench as an assistant for the Sacramento Kings one night and then suddenly found himself in the same position with the New York Knicks just 24 hours later.

How did something so seemingly bizarre happen to Todd?

Well, it was complicated, of course.

First, the Knicks had to fire head coach Mike D’Antoni and replace him with Mike Woodson in the midst of a tumultuous season. Check.

Next, the Knicks had to get permission from the Kings to talk to Todd about leaving Sacramento. Check.

Next, Todd had to make a quick decision about the Knicks’ offer and inform Sacramento head coach Keith Smart, who wanted Todd to remain with the team. Check.

Finally, Todd had to give his all to the Sacramento Kings in a game against the Celtics, knowing his heart and mind would be with the New York Knicks as soon as the game ended.

“Yeah, that was a little (crazy),” Todd said at the TD Garden Tuesday, recalling his career change last March. “The Celtics were in Sacramento when it all happened. We beat them and then I was on a plane to Indianapolis. We pull in at 5 p.m. the next day and at 7 p.m. they’re throwing the ball up for the Knicks-Pacers game and I’m sitting next to Mike Woodson, the new coach of the Knicks. Oh, and we beat the Pacers, too.”

The past 12 months couldn’t have worked out any better for Todd. He’s with a hot team in the Knicks, who had the second best record (43-26) in the Eastern Conference after thrashing the slumping Celtics, 100-85, Tuesday night, and who have high expectations in the playoffs. He’s reunited with one of his best friends, Woodson, who had Todd on his staff with the Atlanta Hawks from 2008-2010. He’s also closer to Salem, where he still has ties (Salem High boys basketball coach Tom Doyle still stays in touch with him) and to Cape Cod, where he’s had a home for many years.

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