Jeff Hornacek, who is reportedly set to become the Knicks new head coach, was sabotaged during his tenure with the Suns by injuries and a toxic environment created by the trade demands of Markieff Morris, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “There were circumstances around him that caused us to not meet expectations more than his style of coaching or ability to coach,’’ Mark West, Phoenix’s vice president of player relations, told Berman. “If you look at a thin slice of the pie and not the whole body of work, [Knicks president] Phil Jackson is smarter than that. I’m sure he didn’t judge it over Jeff’s career in basketball. He was in a tough spot. It unraveled. We won 48 games his first year, lost some of those players that helped achieve those goals, and it went the other way.”
Discussing what Hornacek has to offer as a coach, West said, “He has a combination of different influences since being in the league — Cotton Fitzsimmons with the up-and-down, run-and-gun the Suns played — and playing for Philly in the East, more grinding, half-court set-it-up. With Utah, it was a blend of both. The best thing about Jeff is incorporating different styles, but he’s better coaching the up-and-down. He’ll morph the team to what they need to do.’’
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- The Clippers held workouts today for A.J. English (Iona), Gary Payton II (Oregon State), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Danuel House (Texas A&M), Marshall Plumlee (Duke) and Josh Scott (Colorado), Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter).
- The Warriors saved $4MM in luxury tax penalties as a result of Andrew Bogut not being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team, Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (on Twitter). Golden State’s tax bill for 2015/16 is now $14.9MM and Bogut’s cap hit for next season drops to approximately $11MM, Marks adds.
- The Clippers are bringing in point guard Walter Lemon Jr. for their veteran mini-camp, Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report tweets. Lemon Jr. spent last season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ D-League affiliate, averaging 13.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 24.7 minutes per outing.