The Knicks posted their first winning season in 10 years and made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

The signing of Amar'e Stoudemire and trades for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups provided a huge boost for the ailing franchise and brought respectability back to New York basketball.

However, the Knicks haven't won a championship in 38 years and that's simply too long for a devoted and often unforgiving fanbase.

With the huge additions to the Miami Heat and Derrick Rose's development into full-fledged superstar, the Eastern Conference has become much more competitive. The Knicks still need to make major changes if they hope to make a deep playoff run.

One major issue facing the organization is coaching: who can mold this team into a contender?

With the departure of team president and general manager, Donnie Walsh, the job security of Mike D'Antoni might be in jeopardy.

D'Antoni did a decent job this past season once he had an All-Star big man in Stoudemire and an excellent point guard - Raymond Felton and then Billups - to run his patented pick-and-roll, quick shooting offense.

In his two earlier seasons, D'Antoni's had problems getting the most out of his mediocre talent. This wasn't the case in Phoenix, where the Suns had talent, and an exciting offense. With Steve Nash and Stoudemire, the Suns never reached the Finals.

One of the oldest clichés in basketball is defense wins championships. It was proved true yet again this year when a scrappy Dallas Mavericks defense managed to contain three of the hottest stars in the game to win the title.

D'Antoni's teams have never played good defense. The two cornerstones of the franchise, Anthony and Stoudemire, are already defensively suspect, so a defensive-minded coach is probably necessary to get by teams like Miami and Chicago.

Despite his defensive shortcomings, D'Antoni will probably get one more year to prove that he can in fact lead the Knicks back to the promised land.

With Walsh gone, D'Antoni is already on thin ice. Should the Knicks fail to at least reach the Eastern Conference finals next year D'Antoni will certainly be fired.

Who would replace him for 2012-2013?

One name that will probably get a lot of media attention is legendary coach Phil Jackson. The Zen Master retired from basketball once again at the end of this past season. If D'Antoni is fired after next season, speculation will run rampant as to whether Jackson, who played on the two Knicks championship teams in 1970 and 1973, might return to lead an unprecedented third franchise to an NBA championship as head coach.

Jackson's major coaching strength has always been his ability to manage major egos so he would seem the obvious choice to mold Stoudemire, Anthony, and the Knicks into a championship contender.

However, at age 65 and with some health problems, Jackson might be a tough sell to come to New York. Add to the fact that his long-time girlfriend Jeanie Buss is the daughter of Lakers' owner Jerry Buss, and Jackson might feel coaching at Madison Square Garden might be more trouble than it's worth.

Should the Knicks coax Jackson out of retirement they would have to be considered a legitimate threat to win a championship. Jackson has always had his eye on returning to his former team, but the organization was riddled with problems stemming from Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas.

It remains to be seen if he has the passion or desire for yet another tour in the NBA, but in the meantime his name will continue to be mentioned as the man who could bring the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to Madison Square Garden.