Jeff Hornacek to be new Knicks coach, per sources

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jeff Hornacek will be the new coach of the New York Knicks, league sources confirmed to ESPN's Ian Begley.

Hornacek was at the Knicks' facility on Thursday, sources told Though contract talks have begun, nothing is finalized at this point, league sources say.

Hornacek, Knicks president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills had dinner Wednesday night at a New York steakhouse, but Jackson would not discuss the team's hiring situation when questioned by the New York Daily News.

The Knicks informed others involved in their coaching search Wednesday that they had decided on Hornacek, league sources said. Jackson told interim coach Kurt Rambis, his longtime assistant and close friend, of his decision to hire Hornacek, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

The Knicks and Jackson interviewed Hornacek, formerly the coach of the Phoenix Suns, earlier this week, league sources previously told ESPN's Marc Stein.

Hornacek was fired by the Suns in February after the team lost 19 of 21 games and 14 straight on the road. Phoenix began the season with playoff aspirations after posting records of 48-34 and 39-43 in Hornacek's first two seasons, the first of which saw him finish second in the coach of the year balloting. But the Suns had a 14-35 record and had fallen into 13th place in the 15-team West amid a rash of injuries when the club cut ties with him.

Hornacek, 53, was one of four known candidates for the Knicks position, which opened when the team fired Derek Fisher in February. Rambis had received strong consideration for the post since the regular season ended, with backing from Jackson. Rambis, who was 9-19 after replacing Fisher, is close with Jackson and runs the triangle offense that Jackson favors. reported last month that former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt was the first external candidate to emerge as a serious contender, and the Daily News first reported earlier this week that former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel discussed the job with Jackson last week.

With Hornacek coming on board, it is unclear whether the Knicks will continue to run the triangle. Rambis' future with the club is also unclear. Sources indicated there is a possibility Rambis will remain on the Knicks' staff, but the decision ultimately will be up to Hornacek. Rambis and Hornacek have mutual respect for each other, sources say, having been teammates for three seasons with the Suns.

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.

Under Fisher and later Rambis, the Knicks finished 32-50 in 2015-16, their third straight season out of the playoffs.

Hornacek had interviewed for a number of openings over the past month-plus. Sources previously told Stein that Hornacek would be at or near the top of Golden State's list in the Warriors' search for a new lead assistant coach at season's end, if he was available.

Hornacek's only NBA head-coaching experience is his two-plus seasons with the Suns. He spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz.

He spent the first six years of his 14-year NBA playing career with the Suns, making his only All-Star Game in 1992. He played for the Jazz teams that made the NBA Finals in 1996-97 and 1997-98, losing to the Chicago Bulls both times.

ESPN's Ian Begley, Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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