- Posted: 10:31 AM, January 15, 2013
Woodson’s Knicks arrived into their London hotels this morning groggy from the six-hour redeye and time change, but prepared to see the sights and take the day off.
Woodson cancelled practice so the club can rest up and enjoy the town. Several players brought their wives on the trip and the club had to charter a bigger plane out of JFK. Woodson said he also wants to use the trip as a bonding experience. The Knicks will have a full-blown practice Wednesday and face the Pistons Thursday at O-2 Arena.
“It’s been a long flight over, we’ll. take today off,’’ Woodson said at the team hotel. "Tomorrow we’re going to have a full-blown practice. I think guys are kind of dragging. I don’t know if I’ll get much out of anybody today."
Woodson spent a week in London in August during the Summer Olympics and caught some basketball games – watching Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler play for Team USA and Pablo Prigioni for Argentina. Anthony and Chandler won the gold but Argentina lost in the bronze-medal game.
“It’s great to be back in London,’’Woodson said. “It really is. It really was a hell of an experience. To be able to experience that with your family and watch three of your players compete for gold medals it’s really awesome. To be able to bring our team back this year, it’s got to be great for anybody, the fans, because they got an opportunity to see basketball played at its highest level.’’
Woodson encouraged players to bring their families. Woodson brought his daughter and nephew’s daughter.
“I think it's important, it's an opportunity not only for us to bond but they can spend a little time with their families,’’ Woodson said. “It's kind of nice to spend it with people you know. Some players were able to bring their kids and spouses.’’
Amar’e Stoudemire brought his new wife, Alexis, and they planned to hit the town.
“I’ve been there before (in 2008) but this is the first time with my wife,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ll try to enjoy the London area, restaurants and lounges, great museums. I’m going to try to enjoy sightseeing.’’
Woodson knows the team who handles the five-hour time change the best may be the victor.
“That’s a part of it,’’ Woodson said. “We knew once we made the commitment to come over, we knew what we were getting into. I think it’s OK. I don’t see it as a problem. Our doctors kind of prepared our guys and gave them an outline of when to sleep and try to get back on a regular time. So they’ve been already prepped for that.’’
One of the keys to Wednesday’s practice is making sure Iman Shumpert gets through it healthy. If he does, Shumpert will make his season debut and Woodson would not rule out starting him.