Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical first reported Hornacek's departure and that general manager Ryan McDonough fired the coach after the Suns' 91-78 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns later confirmed the 52-year-old's exit.
Phoenix Suns @Suns
OFFICIAL: https://t.co/8RMDjyKhpM2/1/2016, 2:11:32 PM
Hornacek went 87-77 in his first two seasons at the helm for the Suns and failed to make the playoffs. Improvement was expected in 2015-16, but even with the Western Conference in decline, Phoenix struggled to a 14-35 mark. The Suns' loss to Dallas was their 19th in their last 21 games, and they now sit 13th in the Western Conference.
Eleven Years Ago Today, Kobe Bryant Dropped 81 Points on the Raptors
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: Top 5 Question Marks at the Halfway Point
Howard Beck and Ric Bucher's 1st-Half Disappointments
KD Has His Best Game of the Season vs. Thunder
Was the NBA Right or Wrong to Reduce Fan Influence on All-Star Starters?
Who Should Star in the Remake of 'White Men Can’t Jump'?
The Greek Freak vs. the Beard: Harden and Giannis Face Off in Houston
Allen Iverson Will Reportedly Coach Former NBA Stars in 3-on-3 Tournament
Mr. December: See John Wall Once Again End the Year as NBA's Player of the Month
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the Top 5 Trade Targets in the NBA
Jordan Clarkson Fouls Goran Dragic & James Johnson Isn't Having It
Top 3 Landing Spots If the Chicago Bulls Move All-Star Jimmy Butler
Giannis vs. Porzingis: Battle of the International Unicorns
James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook: Who's the Real MVP?
Ric Bucher's NBA Power Rankings: New Year Sees a New Team at #1
Bucher Buzz: the Reason the Hawks Are Likely to Trade Paul Millsap and Others
Bucher Buzz: League Sources Say Bulls Have Begun Shopping Jimmy Butler
Who Will Grab the 8th Seed in the Western Conference?
Howard Beck Predicts the NBA All-Star Teams in Each Conference
Is Rondo's Relationship with the Bulls Beyond Repair?
What's Wrong with the New York Knicks?
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: Who Has the Most to Prove in 2017?
James Harden Connects with Montrezl Harrell with the Between-the-Legs Dime
Jrue Holiday Dunks on Kristaps Porzingis
Isaiah Thomas Scores Career High 52 Points Versus the Miami Heat
Tommy Heinsohn Goes Nuts After Isaiah Thomas Scores His 50th Point
Giannis Antetokounmpo Blocks the Two-Time Slam Dunk Champ
Doc and Austin Rivers Receive 1st-Half Ejections Against the Houston Rockets
Lopez Does a Double Clothesline
Clutch Under Pressure: MVP Steph Curry Steps Up with the Game on the Line
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the NBA's Best Ball-Handlers
Kevin Durant Is an Assassin: the Former MVP Leads the NBA's Best Superteam
Tim Duncan Ends His Speech with Some Jokes
Coach Gregg Popovich Fights Off the Feelings During His Speech
Rest in Peace, Craig Sager: Paying Tribute to a Legendary NBA Sideline Reporter
James Harden Is an Assassin: the Beard Makes His Case for NBA MVP
Howard Beck's NBA Awards at the Quarter-Mark of the Season
DeMarcus Cousins Trade Rumors: Is the All-Star Center 'Damaged Goods'?
Is the Phil Jackson/Carmelo Anthony Feud Being Blown Out of Proportion?
Clutch Curry: Is Steph the Master of Late-Game Heroics?
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the NBA's Biggest Underperformers So Far
Russell Westbrook Gets His 7th Straight Triple-Double
Sam Dekker Posterizes Enes Kanter
Cleveland Cavaliers Rick Roll'd
Ric Bucher's NBA Power Rankings
LeBron vs. Melo: the Rivalry Continues Between Superstar Friends
Can VR Save DeAndre Jordan's Free-Throw Percentage?
Klay Thompson Career High 60 Points
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: The NBA's Best Duos
LeBron vs. Wade: Legendary Heat Teammates Face Off in Hometown Clash
Ric Bucher's NBA Power Rankings: for the 5th Straight Week There's a New #1
The NBA's Early Season Contenders and Pretenders
The Top Plays from the 1st Month of the 2016-17 NBA Season
Just How Much Will the Knicks Regret Joakim Noah's Monster Contract?
Averaging a Triple-Double, Is the MVP Now Russell Westbrook's to Lose?
Will Anyone Challenge the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference's #1 Seed?
Is It Time for Panic or Patience in Minnesota for the Struggling Timberwolves?
Greg Anthony's Starting 5: the NBA's Top Defensive Teams
Andrew Wiggins Unloads Monster 1-Handed Dunk on Warriors' JaVale McGee
Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony Hits the Game Winning Jumper Over the Charlotte Hornets
Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver shared this chart of the team's record this season, and it doesn't look pretty:
Ben Golliver @BenGolliver
You could ride a skateboard down this chart that shows Suns' winning percentage over the course of 2015-16 https://t.co/EnqclztNin2/1/2016, 8:26:36 AM
Whispers regarding Hornacek's job security, or lack thereof, first came to light following a Dec. 26 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who previously had just one win to their credit. Per ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Hornacek acknowledged the team had hit rock bottom after that defeat.
"Obviously, it's probably a low point for us," Hornacek said. "Now the confidence is lacking."
Shortly after the loss to the Sixers, the Suns fired assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting, at which point the writing was seemingly on the wall regarding Hornacek's future with the team.
Hornacek enjoyed a remarkable 14-year career as a player with the Suns, 76ers and Utah Jazz, and he had a three-year stint as an assistant coach with the Jazz before the Suns hired him in 2013.
His on-court success never quite translated to excellence on the sidelines, but it can be argued the front office should share as much of the blame for the Suns' poor form.
"Hard to see how this is his fault, though," Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post said of the coach.
After Phoenix came within one game of the playoffs in 2013-14, the team made a number of head-scratching moves, including trading away Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, and sending Marcus Morris to the Detroit Pistons, creating turmoil with his twin brother, Markieff.
D.J. Foster of Fox Sports can't believe Morris outlasted his Suns coach:
D.J. Foster @fosterdj3
Markieff Morris outlasted Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. Welp.2/1/2016, 8:02:10 AM
The Suns' struggles may not have been entirely Hornacek's fault, but since making a coaching change is usually the quickest and easiest way for a franchise to shake things up, he ultimately took the fall.
With Hornacek now out of the picture, the focus shifts toward finding a coach capable of making the playoffs with the current roster and perhaps a few tweaks along the way.
Walton is likely the hottest coaching commodity out there, though, which means the Suns may have to dig deeper.
There is no question Phoenix is a talented team, with the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler in place, but the combination just hasn't worked to this point.
A new coaching voice on the sidelines and in the locker room may be the key to making things click, so it is difficult to argue with the organization's decision to move on from Hornacek after three disappointing seasons.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!