The closer we get to the offseason, the less likely it seems that Jeff Hornacek will return as head coach of the New York Knicks next season. In fact, they may already have a replacement or two in mind: Mark Jackson and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Here’s the skinny, replete with some telling anecdotes, via the New York Post‘s Marc Berman:
The feeling around the league is Hornacek won’t be brought back by Steve Mills and Scott Perry and that the club may target Doc Rivers and Mark Jackson.
Meanwhile, according to an NBA source, the Noah and O’Quinn shouting incidents weren’t the first time the lame-duck Knicks coach got profanities thrown his way by a Knicks player.
The source told The Post that late last season, Kristaps Porzingis, normally the politest of souls, cursed out Hornacek during a practice, using the F-word.
Canning Hornacek alone won’t change the Knicks’ fortunes, something I’ve been quick to parrot time and again. Kristaps Porzingis isn’t expected to rejoin the rotation until sometime around Christmas, and until he’s healthy, New York won’t have anything meaningful to play for, no matter who’s manning their sidelines.
Things change if Porzingis and Hornacek aren’t on the same page. Franchise cornerstones on the right side of 23 always win out over the head coach, particularly one who wasn’t the pick of the current general manager and team president. The Knicks might see firing Hornacek as an opportunity to build goodwill will their best player.
At any rate, if New York opts to go in a different direction, it shouldn’t limit the scope to Jackson and Rivers. Jackson isn’t necessarily known for reaching youngsters on a profound level. He wore on the Golden State Warriors organization before his exit. Rivers, meanwhile, is employed with the Clippers, and the Knicks have no business giving up draft compensation of any kind to reel in a head-coaching candidate.