Jeff Hornacek

Hornacek On Noah: ‘We’ve Moved On’

With the NBA schedule set to resume on Thursday, Joakim Noah hasn’t rejoined the Knicks, and head coach Jeff Hornacek indicates there are no plans for the veteran center to return to the team anytime soon. Asked whether Noah will remain away from the club, Hornacek replied, “I think that is the plan,” Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes.

“We’ve moved on,” Hornacek said on Tuesday, per Ian Begley of ESPN. “He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else.”

Hornacek and Noah were reportedly involved in an altercation during a January practice, which resulted in the team and the player mutually agreeing that Noah would take an indefinite leave of absence. If Noah is to return to the Knicks before the end of the season, that decision would come from president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, says Hornacek.

Despite having “moved on” from Noah, the Knicks have shown no desire to waive him outright, sources tell Begley. As of last week, the veteran had also shown no inclination to negotiate a buyout with the club, which isn’t surprising, given all the money he’s still owed. Noah has guaranteed salaries of $18.53MM in 2018/19 and $19.295MM in 2019/20.

After exploring trades before this month’s deadline, the Knicks could once again test the trade market for Noah this summer. Even with his contract one year closer to expiring though, he’ll be extremely difficult to move. New York would likely have to attach a first-round pick to get a team to take it on, an idea the front office has been unwilling to entertain.

As for whether or not the practice incident between Noah and Hornacek would stand in the way of the big man reporting back to the Knicks at some point, the head coach insists it wouldn’t be an issue.

“Things happen in practice, happen in meetings, happen in all kind of stuff,” Hornacek said. “We’ve dealt with that and that’s the end of it from us.”

Noah, Hornacek Altercation Turned Physical?

FEBRUARY 19: There are conflicting reports on the exact details of the altercation, with sources telling Marc Berman of The New York Post that Hornacek never pushed Noah. Berman reports that the two men did engage in a shouting match, adding that Noah had to be restrained.

FEBRUARY 17: Knicks center Joakim Noah got into a physical altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek that led to his leave of absence, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Their long-running disagreement over playing time became heated at a practice following a January 23 game against the Warriors in which Noah logged just five minutes. They had to be separated after Hornacek shoved Noah, Bondy reports.

Noah is currently on a leave of absence, which Knicks officials describe as mutual. The team tried to trade him before the February 8 deadline, but there were no takers because of his hefty contract, which still has two more seasons and nearly $38MM remaining.

Trying to reach a buyout agreement is another option, but it’s one the Knicks have been opposed to. If Noah does become a free agent, the Timberwolves are an obvious potential destination with Noah’s former coach Tom Thibodeau running the team.

Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler, a teammate of Noah for five seasons in Chicago, spoke to the veteran center recently and said he just wants an opportunity to play.

“He wants to help win. He’s a great dude,” Butler said. “I talked to him a little bit, not a lot. All in all, I want him to be happy. Because you can’t go to work every day, being with the same people every day, if you’re not happy. That’s not good for anybody.”

Community Shootaround: Knicks’ Head Coaching Job

As we outlined in an earlier Knicks post, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote today that it’s “hard to envision a scenario” in which head coach Jeff Hornacek is back next season. Hornacek is in his second year at the helm and the Knicks have struggled to a 54-87 record under his watch. The roster has been in a constant of flux, the front office has been at odds, and Hornacek has taken the brunt of the blame.

Since 2014, the New York has had four head coaches, with Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Hornacek holding down the position. However, the Knicks have not enjoyed a winning campaign since the 2012/13 season and have seemingly been building for the future for half a decade.

The rest of this season is all but over as the Knicks sport the ninth-worst record in the NBA and are likely out of the playoff picture after franchise star Kristaps Porzingis went down with a season-ending torn ACL. With solid young long-term pieces such as Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Tim Hardaway Jr. in place, the front office – along with Hornacek – has stressed that this year is designed to prepare for the future.

If that is the plan, is Hornacek the man to lead the Knicks into the future? Do you think the Knicks should move on from Hornacek? If the team does make a change, who do you feel would be the right coach for the current roster? Sound off in the comments below!

Knicks Notes: Jack, Ntilikina, PGs, Hornacek

When the Knicks return from the All-Star break, their backcourt rotation may look a little different, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. As Bondy details, Jarrett Jack has been New York’s starting point guard for 56 of the team’s 59 games this season, but that figures to change in the coming weeks as the club focuses on developing its younger players.

While it’s not clear who will replace Jack in the starting lineup, or whether the veteran’s role will be altogether eliminated, head coach Jeff Hornacek said that the Knicks expect to give more minutes to some combination Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke — the club may even play two of those young point guards alongside one another at times, writes Bondy.

Getting Ntilikina more action at his natural point guard spot is also a priority for the Knicks, per Hornacek. We don’t want (Ntilikina) to always be off the ball,” Hornacek said. “We want to play him on the ball. So that he continues to get that taste of the point guard position.”

As we wait to see what the Knicks’ new rotation looks like, here are a few more notes on the lottery-bound club:

  • Within his post on the Knicks’ point guard plans, Bondy includes an interesting note on Jeff Hornacek, writing that it’s “hard to envision a scenario where he returns next season.” Bondy isn’t reporting outright that the Knicks are expected to make a coaching change, but it sure sounds like he thinks it’ll happen.
  • The Knicks currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA, and they’ll have a tough time passing many of the team’s above them in our Reverse Standings. Taking that into account, Marc Berman of The New York Post takes a closer look at a couple prospects who could be available at No. 9 for the Knicks: Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges.
  • On Wednesday, we passed along the latest updates on the season-ending injuries suffered by Kristaps Porzingis and Ron Baker.

Jeff Hornacek Gets Vote Of Confidence From GM

Amid speculation that Jeff Hornacek’s job could be jeopardized by what appears to be another lost season, Knicks GM Scott Perry offered a vote of confidence today, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.

Already five games out of a playoff spot, New York suffered a crushing blow Tuesday night when star forward Kristaps Porzingis tore his left ACL. Perry says he understands the situation and plans to judge Hornacek and his staff by more than just their won-loss record.

“No, we’re not looking to make any changes,” Perry said. “We’re evaluating the entire season. Jeff and his group are working really hard with this basketball team and doing the very best they can and obviously this is an adversity for them to deal with [Kristaps Porzingis] being out, but I’m confident that they’ll be able to do a good job of keeping this team playing hard and playing together. That’s what we’ll be looking at moving forward.”

Hornacek has one season remaining on the three-year deal he signed when he was hired in 2016. He has a 54-83 record during his time in New York and hasn’t developed the Knicks into a playoff contender.

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, a longtime friend of team president Steve Mills, has been mentioned as a possible replacement, along with ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who spent nearly seven seasons with the Knicks as a player.

In the wake of Porzingis’ injury, Hornacek plans to devote more minutes to younger players for the rest of the season.

“We’re still trying to win games,” he said. “We’re still trying to develop our guys. This is going to give them an opportunity to get some minutes and see what they can do against NBA guys. We’ve seen some of it, because they practice with us, and we see what they can do against our guys.”

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Hornacek, Monroe, Fultz

The Knicks are still reeling after losing Kristaps Porzingis for the rest of the season and possibly longer, but GM Scott Perry told Brian Hayman of Newsday that a full recovery is expected. At a news conference today, Perry confirmed that Porzingis will need surgery for a torn ACL. The team doesn’t have a timetable for when it expects Porzingis to start playing again, but Perry did offer a bit of hope for Knicks fans.

“We have tremendous confidence in our medical group here that he’s going to make more than a full recovery,” Perry said. “And so whenever that time is, when he’s back on the court, we expect him to be back at full strength and better than ever. That was our message to him. And that’s his message to us.” 

The injury complicates a huge offseason decision in New York as Porzingis becomes eligible for an extension to his rookie contract. He was in the middle of his most productive year, averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game, so a max offer seemed inevitable. However, the injury may change the equation as the Knicks may seek to work out a smaller deal or could let the Latvian star become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Porzingis’ misfortune affects numerous aspects of the Knicks‘ organization, including the future of coach Jeff Hornacek, according to James Herbert of CBS Sports. Hornacek has one more season left on his contract, but he was hired by former team president Phil Jackson and doesn’t have a strong connection to the current regime. Hornacek is 54-83 in a season and a half in New York and may be presiding over another second-half collapse.
  • Free agent center Greg Monroe will officially sign with the Celtics sometime before Thusday’s game, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Monroe announced his plans to join the team on Friday, but there has been a delay in case the Celtics need an open roster spot for a trade before tomorrow’s deadline.
  • Sixers guard Markelle Fultz did a brief interview with TNT Tuesday night, prompting a round of post-game questions for coach Brett Brown about the rookie’s condition, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer“He doesn’t go through everything — there are some drills that I take him out of — but he does go through a lot,” Brown said. “He does go through a large majority of the practice. It isn’t 100 percent yet, but it a very large majority of our practices.” The top pick in the 2017 draft, Fultz has appeared in just four games.

New York Notes: Trade Chips, Marks, Baker

The Knicks are sellers ahead of the February 8 trade deadline, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes, with their eyes set on the 2019 free agent class rather than anything short-term. He broke down several players who could be shed in the team’s pursuit of draft assets and cap flexibility.

Bondy writes that the Knicks would love to deal Joakim Noah but, as has been discussed ad nauseam, such a deal isn’t likely to come to fruition. Neither, Bondy says, is a trade involving Enes Kanter, the 25-year-old whose comeback season and $18MM contract make him likely to remain in the Big Apple.

A more realistic bet to be traded is Willy Hernangomez, whose age, contract and potential would be more appealing than, say, Noah.

Other players like Courtney Lee and Michael Beasley are likely to remain with the Knicks, Bondy says — the former because he’s a consistent producer on the young squad and the latter because there hasn’t been much interest outside of the Knicks organization itself.

There’s more out of Brooklyn and New York this evening:

  • The Nets won’t rule out dealing some of their veteran players, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes, but general manager Sean Marks isn’t rushing out to unload them either. “At the end of the day, if we’ve invested a lot of sweat equity in guys, I’d like that to be fruitful for the Nets organization,” he said. Wings DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris have been said to be viable assets as the deadline approaches.
  • Injured Knicks guard Ron Baker will have to choose whether or not to undergo surgery on his shoulder, says Marc Berman of The New York Post. One specialist recommended such a procedure that would sideline Baker for three-to-six months.
  • In case you hadn’t guessed by now, Joakim Noah and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek “pretty much hate each other,” Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Sixers, Hornacek, Longstaff, Knicks

Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss two weeks after he suffered a hand laceration after he punched a picture frame in frustration. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has more information on Smart’s injury and how the 23-year-old could face discipline from the team.

Per Bulpett, Smart’s story about the incident taking place inside a Beverly Hills hotel room checks out. Smart was reportedly frustrated over a social media post of a female acquaintance, which has since been deleted.

A source tells Bulpett that it is within the organization’s right to issue a fine and/or a suspension to Smart due to the incident. However, head coach Brad Stevens downplayed the situation and said the matter will be handled “internally.”  In 46 games (10 starts) this season, Smart is averaging 10.1 PPG and 4.7 APG.

Check out other Atlantic Division news and notes below:

  • Mike Schmitz of ESPN Insider (Subscription required and recommended) writes that while the Sixers possess an impressive young core headlined by Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, their future franchise star may be 22-year-old Australian Jonah BoldenBolden was Philadelphia’s second-round pick (36th overall) in the 2017 NBA Draft; he currently suits up for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League
  • While the Knicks went 3-4 on their recent road trip, head coach Jeff Hornacek took several positives out of the stretch, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. With the trade deadline approaching, several Knicks may be on the move, but Hornacek was pleased with Lance Thomasdefense, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke‘s tenacity, and Enes Kanter‘s toughness.
  • With the deadline close, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes that the organization should learn from former president Phil Jackson‘s past mistakes. Instead of trying for a quick attempt at competing with a patchwork roster, the team should stick with its build-and-grow approach.
  • The Knicks cut ties with assistant coach Josh Longstaff (a personal favorite of Kristaps Porzingis) in the offseason and he is now finding G League success as the head coach of the Erie Bayhawks, Bondy writes in a separate story.

Coaching Shakeup May Be On The Way

Coming off a rare season in which no coaches were fired, the NBA may be preparing for a shakeup that will affect a third of the league, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News.

Isola suggests as many as 10 teams could be looking at coaching changes at the end of the season, if not sooner. The actual number will depend on how things play out, but several more names may join David Fizdale of Memphis and Earl Watson of Phoenix as coaching casualties for 2017/18.

Both Los Angeles teams could be open to changes, with the Lakers far out of the playoff race at 16-29. The front office was slow to defend Luke Walton after recent derogatory comments by LaVar Ball, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently suggested that hiring former Fizdale, a former assistant with the Heat, would give the organization a better shot at LeBron James. However, Walton still has an important ally in majority owner Jeanie Buss.

Across town, Doc Rivers is doing a remarkable job with a depleted roster, but he may not remain with the Clippers if they decide to rebuild by following through with rumored trades involving DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. Rivers, who has one more year left on the extension he signed in 2014, was removed from his front office duties before the start of the season. Isola says Rivers may return to television if he leaves the Clippers, though he would become a candidate for possible openings in New York and Orlando.

There will be no shortage of prominent candidates if the Knicks decide to move on from Jeff Hornacek. Isola identifies ABC/ESPN analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy as potential replacements, along with former Pelicans coach and Knicks player Monty Williams, reigning G League Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova coach Jay Wright, although there is speculation that Wright would only leave the college ranks to take the Sixers’ job.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Hornacek, Porzingis, Trade Deadline Plans

Enes Kanter has been a bright spot for the Knicks this season, but his ongoing dispute with the Turkish government has generated more headlines than anything he has done on the court. While his future — both with the Knicks and his native country — is unclear, Kanter knows he wants to retire in New York.

In an in-depth interview with ESPN’s Ian Begley, Kanter addressed his perception of the Knicks before he joined the team as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade last September and his current view of the organization.

“I remember during the draft I went to see a lot of organizations. But after you play in New York, you don’t really want to go anywhere else,” Kanter said. “The people around are so cool. I remember maybe it was my second month here. I was thinking, ‘This place is so cool, I want to retire here.’ I remember one of the media guys was asking me, ‘Is it too early to decide because you’ve been here for not even a half season? Why did you want to decide that you wanted to retire as a Knick?’ I was like, ‘This is the place I want to be.’ You play at Madison Square Garden, you see all the famous people. I’m really cool with Ben Stiller.”

Kanter, 25, has averaged 13.5 PPG and 9.9 RPG through 43 games this season while holding down the center position. In addition to his Knicks future, Kanter also discussed his view of Turkey, his current relationship with his family, and his spat with LeBron James.

Check out other Knicks news below:

  • There have been some rumblings of head coach Jeff Hornacek‘s future with the team given the team’s recent rough patch, which was addressed by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Amid the chatter, however, Hornacek responded by stating that he has the support of the organization and moving forward with the plan of developing young talent, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
  • Kristaps Porzingis was voted an All-Star starter by his fellow players, but lost the overall vote to Sixers big man Joel Embiid. Per ESPN, the Latvian sharpshooter addressed the news with confidence. “Players know,” Porzingis said. “That’s all I’m going to say.
  • The Knicks’ issues with their point guards, defensive capabilities, and ability to win were evident in a recent loss to the Grizzlies. Marc Berman of the New York Post examined how the recent losses — the rough patch that has left the team at 21-25 — could lead to a fire sale ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.
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