Sources told ESPN.com that the Suns have been forced to contemplate a coaching change far sooner than they hoped because of a slide that has dropped them to 12-20 and 11th in the Western Conference, with fears growing within the organization that the team is no longer responding to Hornacek.
Phoenix began the season with playoff aspirations after posting records of 48-34 and 39-43 in Hornacek's first two seasons and the offseason signing of center Tyson Chandler. But the Suns have dropped 15 of 20 games since opening up at 7-5, seemingly bottoming out in Saturday night's home loss to the Sixers in which star guard Eric Bledsoe also exited with a left knee injury in the second quarter.
Bledsoehas a torn meniscus and will be sidelined indefinitely, the team announced Sunday.
Adding to the sting of the Philadelphia loss: It was the first game on the Sixers' bench for former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, who was hired recently by new Philadelphia chairman of basketball operations and former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo to serve as associate head coach to the Sixers coach Brett Brown.
"Obviously, it's probably a low point for us," Hornacek told reporters after the game. "Now the confidence is lacking."
It was Philadelphia's first road win since last March, as well as the first game of a two-game suspension for Suns forward Markieff Morris, who threw a towel in Hornacek's direction after being pulled from a home loss Wednesday to 12-18 Denver. Morris has been angling for a trade since the offseason.
"Pretty embarrassing, point blank, period," Suns forward P.J. Tucker told the Arizona Republic on Saturday night.
"If something doesn't change quick, it could get really ugly, really fast."
This is the final guaranteed season on Hornacek's original four-year contract. Questions about his future with the club have been in circulation in coaching circles since the Suns elected not to pick up their team option on Hornacek for 2016-17 entering this season.