NEW YORK (CBS Sports) — It’s been another tough season at Madison Square Garden. Not only have the Knicksalready been eliminated from the postseason — making it five straight seasons in which they’ll miss the playoffs — but their star big man, Kristaps Porzingis, went down with a torn ACL.
Porzingis’ injury, as well as the general lack of talent on the Knicks roster has made things difficult for coach Jeff Hornacek. As the losses continue to pile up, Hornacek’s days in charge of the Knicks are reportedly numbered. According to the New York Times‘ Marc Stein, Hornacek is unlikely to make it to the end of his contract, which has one year remaining.
Stein reported that in addition to the losing, the Knicks are eager to move on from Phil Jackson, and he was the one who brought in Hornacek. Per Stein, Mark Jackson and David Blatt are two names that could come up in the search for a new Knicks coach if they do end up firing Hornacek. Via Stein’s newsletter:
Jeff Hornacek has one year left on his contract, but good luck finding league observers who believe he will survive to see it out.
The former Knicks guard Mark Jackson keeps coming up as a hot name to succeed Hornacek, amid a growing belief the Knicks’ new front-office chief – Scott Perry – will want to install his own hand-picked choice heading into next season.
It’s difficult to fault Hornacek for much of the chaos that has engulfed the Knicks during his two seasons in charge. But there’s no avoiding the fact he was a Phil Jackson selection, which could well doom him now that the organization seems intent on cutting every non-Porzingian tie to the Phil era as possible.
Another name to file away here: The former Cleveland coach David Blatt has a longstanding relationship with the Knicks’ president Steve Mills dating to their days as Princeton teammates. You wonder if that’ll finally earn Blatt his first meaningful look from an N.B.A. franchise since the Cavaliers fired him in January 2016 while sporting a record of 30-11.
The problems in New York the past few seasons really aren’t Hornacek’s fault, but it’s not surprising that the Knicks would be potentially looking to move on. Sometimes you just need a fresh voice and ideas in the locker room, and the fact that he was Phil Jackson’s guy certainly isn’t helping Hornacek’s cause.
It would be most interesting if the Knicks actually brought David Blatt back over from Europe for another go at the NBA head-coaching role. The guy certainly knows how to coach basketball, but he never really had the trust of LeBron James when he was in Cleveland, which doomed him from the start. Seeing what he could do with a young Knicks team would be quite intriguing.