The New York Knicks wasted little time in firing head coach Jeff Hornacek following their final game of the season. And they wasted even less time coming up with a list of potential replacements.
According to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks canned Hornacek almost immediately after they returned from their road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will now, apparently, pivot into a coaching search expected to include former Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, former Cavs coach David Blatt and former NBA player/current Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate head coach Jerry Stackhouse:
Sources said Mills and Perry informed Hornacek of his firing upon the team’s return to suburban New York following a flight back from Cleveland, where the Knicks beat the Cavaliers 110-98. . . .
In a competitive marketplace this spring, the mystique of Madison Square Garden, as well as the resources and willingness to pay a lot in terms of coaching salary, gives New York a distinct advantage in recruiting available candidates.
Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, former Cavaliers coach David Blatt — now coaching in Turkey — and former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson are among the candidates the Knicks are planning to contact, league sources told ESPN. New York also plans to contact Jerry Stackhouse, the head coach of Toronto 905, the Toronto Raptors’ G League affiliate, according to sources.
Firing Hornacek so quickly suggests the Knicks already have a favorite in mind. The smart money here would be Fizdale, who is considered the hottest commodity among available names. With the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks all potentially vying for his services, the Knicks, in theory, would need to create an opening as soon as possible so they could make their own pitch to him.
Of course, these are the Knicks. They may be tripping over themselves to add Mark Jackson. Whoever they pick, it’ll say a lot how about seriously we should take their rebuild. Will they hire someone they think can add wins to their bottom line immediately, even with Kristaps Porzingis on the sidelines? Or will they roll with the name who can help the youngsters grow organically?
Good luck figuring out which route they’ll take. Their true intentions will remain up in the air until an official hire is made—and they might even remain masked in Knicksy confusion long after.