Jeff Hornacek Reportedly to Become Next Knicks Head Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek watches in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Kurt Rambis had served as the New York Knicks' interim head coach since they fired Derek Fisher in February, but the team has reportedly decided to go with former Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek as the next head coach, according to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck

Continue for updates.


Hornacek Reportedly Agrees to Terms with Knicks

Wednesday, May 18

Citing a source, Beck reported the deal with Hornacek is "as close as humanly possible" but not official. However, it will be "barring any unforeseen snags."

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported on Monday, citing league sources, that the Knicks interviewed Hornacek. Stein also reported the Golden State Warriors had interest in Hornacek as an assistant coach for next season.


Knicks Reportedly Meet with Vogel

Sunday, May 15

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported Phil Jackson and Knicks general manager Steve Mills met in Los Angeles last week with former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.

On May 6, Marc Berman and Fred Kerber of the New York Post reported that "Mills did his due diligence in contacting Vogel’s reps" and "[Jackson] has not made a decision on how to proceed."


Knicks Coaching Search Could Be on Hold

Thursday, May 5

Ian Begley of ESPN.com, citing league sources, reported that "some involved in the Knicks' coaching search have been informed that Phil [Jackson] is away at the moment. The implication is that the search is on hold for now."


Blatt Reportedly Considered for Knicks Job

Monday, May 2

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on April 27 that Knicks president Phil Jackson met with former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt regarding the team's opening. On Sunday, Berman, citing an NBA source, reported that Blatt remains "still is in the mix" for the position. Berman continued:

Blatt interviewed last Monday with Jackson and general manager Steve Mills. The Post has reported only the head-coaching job was discussed. A source told The Post Sunday the Knicks aren’t considering Blatt for an assistant’s position to front-runner Kurt Rambis.

The Knicks believe Blatt will be a head coach next season — whether in the NBA or overseas.

On April 23, columnist Peter Vecsey reported Blatt has never been considered an option by Jackson to become the head coach of the Knicks. Vecsey noted that Jackson used Blatt as a "smoke screen."

Stein reported on April 20 that the Knicks were focusing on Blatt, along with Rambis.

Begley reported on April 11 that "one name that the Knicks are considering, according to league sources, is [Blatt]."

The Cavaliers famously fired Blatt in January even though he led them to last year's NBA Finals and they won two games against the Golden State Warriors once they got there, despite serious injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Tyronn Lue replaced him in Cleveland following his firing.

Despite Blatt's departure from Cleveland—which garnered speculation of LeBron James' control over the front office—the coach's track record is impressive. In addition to last season's NBA Finals appearance, he was a successful coach for Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv. Cleveland also had the best record in the Eastern Conference this season when Lue replaced Blatt.

Begley pointed out that "Jackson views Blatt favorably," and the former Cleveland coach has a connection with the franchise because he played basketball at Princeton with Knicks general manager Steve Mills.


Rambis Seen as Top Option for Knicks

Sunday, April 24

Vecsey reported that Rambis is the "lone candidate" to become the new head coach of the Knicks.

Begley reported on April 11 that "Rambis remains a strong candidate for the job," though Jackson "plans to do his due diligence in the search and consider other candidates."

Stein and Begley previously cited sources on April 6 who said the Knicks were considering Rambis for the full-time position.

In addition to Rambis' familiarity with the roster that he built down the stretch of the 2015-16 campaign, he was an assistant coach for Jackson during two of the latter's championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Rambis is someone who can institute and run the triangle offense that Jackson prefers, and the two are still close. Stein and Begley even said Jackson made appearances at practices once Rambis became the interim coach.

Rambis also believes in the future of the organization even though it tallied 50 losses for the second consecutive season. He said, per Begley, "If we get the right pieces and continue to grow as a team and everything, we see this turning around real quick."


Jackson Could Face Tampering Charges for Walton Convo

Tuesday, April 19

Stefan Bondy and Isola of the New York Daily News reported, "[Knicks president] Phil Jackson could be in violation of the NBA's tampering rules for the second time in two years for contacting Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton without receiving permission from Golden State." They added:

It is unclear if the Warriors will file tampering charges against Jackson and the Knicks....

The Daily News reported that Walton informed his former coach with the Lakers that as of right now he wasn't interested in the job. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported that Jackson had informed members of the Knicks front office staff that it was his belief that Walton would remain with the Warriors.


Walton, Kerr Comment on Knicks Rumors

Monday, April 18

Walton told reporters his conversation with Jackson wasn't an interview. The two "talk all the time," per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.

"Nobody from New York has interviewed Luke," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, per Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com.

On Sunday, Berman reported Jackson "spoke with Walton in a phone interview."

However, Berman talked to a league source who said "Walton is a favorite to stay with the Warriors another season, but he isn't close to deciding what to do."

Isola reported Walton told Jackson "as of right now he is not interested" in the position, and Isola said it was "unclear" if or when they will resume talks.


Jackson Responds to Latest Rumors on Twitter

Monday, April 18


Anthony Reportedly Wanted Thibodeau

Thursday, April 14

Isola reported that Carmelo Anthony wanted former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to be the team's next head coach. However, Thibodeau became the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves instead.


Mark Jackson's Camp Denies Contact with Knicks

Tuesday, April 12

According to Isola, "A person close to Mark Jackson dismissed an Internet report that the Knicks had contacted the former Knicks guard."


Knicks Have Building Blocks for Future

New York does have one marquee piece in place with superstar Carmelo Anthony, though Begley said in another piece the Syracuse product has a no-trade clause, which has led to speculation about whether he would try to ask his way out of the Big Apple.

Still, Begley detailed the numerous times Anthony "has expressed loyalty to New York," including when the forward said he was excited about the franchise's future with a couple of young building blocks already there in Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant.

Begley even previously reported Anthony wants to have a say in who the Knicks hire to become the full-time coach, which makes it sound like the forward is interested in staying.

Perhaps most importantly, Begley said the Knicks will have at least $18 million in cap space they can use to lure free agents this offseason. With Anthony as a nine-time All-Star and an annual 20-points-per-night scorer as the centerpiece, New York could be a couple of impact players away from postseason contention.

What's more, Porzingis became the first rookie in NBA history to score more than 1,000 points, tally more than 500 rebounds, hit more than 75 three-pointers and block more than 100 shots; he should only develop further with more experience. Grant was a 2015 first-round pick and scored in double figures in four of his last five games.

With Anthony, Porzingis, Grant and plenty of spending money, everything is not bleak for New York, even if it did miss the playoffs for the third straight season in 2015-16. The Knicks will have something to work with in the immediate future with Hornacek at the helm.

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