Knicks Fire Jeff Hornacek

The Knicks have dismissed head coach Jeff Hornacek, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, team management informed Hornacek of its decision upon returning to New York late Wednesday night following the Knicks’ win in Cleveland. The club has since confirmed the move.

Hornacek, who previously coached the Suns, was hired by the Knicks in 2016. He took the reins from interim head coach Kurt Rambis., who stayed on as an assistant until he was also relieved of his duties today, per Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). In two seasons with the franchise, Hornacek led the Knicks to a 60-104 record (.366), missing the playoffs in consecutive years.

Having been hired by former Knicks president Phil Jackson, Hornacek was considered to be on the hot seat for much of the 2017/18 season. Expectations for the Knicks weren’t high entering the year, particularly after the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City in September, so the team’s 29-win showing wasn’t necessarily a major disappointment. Still, there was a belief that the new regime – led by president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry – would want to bring in its own head coach to lead the next stage of New York’s rebuild.

It’s not yet clear if there’s a frontrunner to replace Hornacek on the Knicks’ bench, but a few potential candidates – including Mark Jackson, David Blatt, and David Fizdale – have been mentioned multiple times over the past couple months. The Knicks plan to contact those three veteran coaches, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

In a piece for The New York Daily News on Wednesday, Frank Isola identified Doc Rivers, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jerry Stackhouse as other possible options to replace Hornacek. Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that Stackhouse is on the Knicks’ list of candidates to contact.

Isola also cited a source who named current Knicks VP of player development Craig Robinson as a “long-shot candidate” to move to the head coach position. While that scenario seems unlikely, Robinson was formerly a college head coach at Brown and Oregon State.

Hornacek is the fourth head coach fired by an NBA team during the 2017/18 league year, joining Earl Watson (Suns), Fizdale (Grizzlies), and Jason Kidd (Bucks). Phoenix, Memphis, and Milwaukee have hired interim coaches for now, but figure to conduct full-fledged searches soon, so the Knicks may have to compete with those clubs as they look to schedule interviews.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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11 thoughts on “Knicks Fire Jeff Hornacek

  1. H.Henderson

    Well at least they waited until he was back in NY. Smh…and the merry go round continues

  2. RAHMMAGICK

    I hope the top 3 candidates are 1) Jay Wright of Villanova he’s the best college coach in the USA? 2) Becky Hammon SAS basketball savant and NY LIBERTY legend! 3) Jerry Stackhouse rising coaching star in the NBA!

    • H.Henderson

      Stackhouse is a candidate as per ESPN reporting. Wright is a good candidate and so is Hammon. Along with Stackhouse is Blatt, Fizdale, and M Jackson. If possible I’d like Wright, he knows defense. But I think Stackhouse will the next head coach.

  3. Greg

    I don’t think Wright is leaving Nova for the NBA yet, if at all.

    I like Stack, he’s done a great job with the 905. JVG would be a popular candidate based on his previous track record, but who knows if he’ll leave the booth. I would be good with Becky too, Pop has said she would make a great head coach, and while not a big sample size, she did coach the Spurs summer team to a surprising championship.

    Please no Jackson or Fizdale.

    • padam

      Agreed with everything you said. With that said, keep in mind that Perry and Mills are running the team.

    • No Hammon! The last thing the Knicks need is the spectacle of having the first female head coach. Who cares what Pop says? He wants credit for getting a female coach into the league. No Blatt. He doesn’t know the NBA game. There has to be a guy available who’s a proven talent developer. We’re the friggin’ Knicks (yeah, Dolan, but it’s still NYC).

  4. Dionis

    These coaches lose their jobs because they refuse to develop young players. Frank Ntilikina should have been got more exposure from the moment the Knicks were out of playoff contention, he had solid all around outings to end the season and showed an array of playmaking and athleticism. Ntilikina might end up being the best player in the draft and I’m not even kidding. It was fun seeing Burke but Frank should be the starting point guard next season no discussion. Draft Michael Porter Jr and the Knicks will become relevant again. For the coach I think Jay Wright should get the nod, his emphasis on defense is what this team needs and Frank will only benefit.

  5. Maybe if JH didn’t finish 9th in the 9 team top of the lottery race, I’d be more sympathetic to his cause. They finished ahead of the Nets (who had no reason to tank) by letting the Cavs out tank them to keep the Nets pick high once they saw Philly was winning. Not a fan of tanking over a sustained period, but with KP out and a huge shortfall in elite talent compared to their future competition (Sixers and Celts), they needed to get into the top 6 of this draft. Maybe they’ll get lucky with the ping pong balls (once every 33 years isn’t much to ask).

    • x%sure

      The Lakers have the Cavs’ pick. I don’t see how they could out-tank anyone with the Brk pick; they can’t control that.

      As the #4 seed they will play #1 threat toronto earlier, assuming both get there. I see no advantage to that.

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