Jeff Hornacek, the former Phoenix Suns coach, will take charge of the New York Knicks starting next season, per sources close to the team.
According to ESPN, the Knicks informed the rest of the coaching candidates that they had come to a verbal agreement with Hornacek on Wednesday night. An official announcement is expected within the next 24 hours.
Earlier this week, Knicks president Phil Jackson interviewed Hornacek after a broad coaching search which began at the end of the regular season. The likes of David Blatt and Frank Vogel were in the running for the position but fell out of favour after Jackson met Hornacek, per a source.
Jeff Hornacek: Right man for the job?
Hornacek has earned the praise of peers in the past despite a losing record as head coach. After taking over Phoenix in 2013-14, the former Utah Jazz guard went 48-13, 39-43 and 14-35 in his three seasons as head coach until the Suns sacked him in February after the team lost 19 of 21 games, including 14 consecutive road games.
With Portland Trailblazers retooling their roster and Memphis Grizzlies played with an injured squad, the Suns were expected to secure a playoff berth at the beginning of the season. However, those plans didn’t come to fruition as Suns finished with a record of 23-59 after interim coach Earl Waton took charge of the team in February.
With Jackson and the Knicks adamant on running the triangle offense, besides trusting someone from his inner circle, the decision to hire Hornacek is a bit surprising. After the stints of Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis, Hornacek is a strange choice since he has no discernible ties with the Zen Master.
“Hornacek, who ran a fast-paced, guard-oriented offense in Phoenix, was an unexpected candidate, given Jackson’s stated intention to hire someone with whom he had a relationship. Hornacek never played for or worked under Jackson, who won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach,” read an ESPN report.
In the end, Jeff Hornacek pipped Rambis, Blatt and Vogel for the job.