June 1st 2016: The New York Knicks agree to hire Jeff Hornacek as the next head coach
Jeff Hornacek & the New York Knicks came to agreement on terms to become the franchise’s next head coach. Hornacek was spotted with team president Phil Jackson & general manager Steve Mills at Nino’s Tuscany Steakhouse on West 58th Street during the middle of May.
Howard Beck reported shortly afterwards that Hornacek agreed to become the next head coach, but it wasn’t finalized until this date when Adrian Wojnarowski officially reported that the agreement was final. Hornacek received a 3 year contract that coincided with the end of Phil Jackson’s contract with the Knicks.
When Phil Jackson joined the Knicks, he originally hired Derek Fisher as his head coach. He fired Fisher midway through his second season due to a myriad of issues, including a reluctance to adopt the triangle offense (or any true system in general). Hornacek agreed to instill an offense that would modernize the team’s offense within the principles of the triangle offense.
Despite starting his first part of the 2016-17 season with a near .500 record, things began to tumble for Hornacek & the Knicks. A combination of lack of defense and overall team dysfunction (Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson, Derrick Rose) quickly led to the demise of the season. Despite what Hornacek preached before the season, the offense was not modern and did not really implement much of the triangle offense. After his first season, James Dolan relieved Phil Jackson of his duties and the Knicks eventually traded Carmelo Anthony.
Similar to his first season, Hornacek started the 2017-18 campaign at a near .500 record. However, a tough January & Kristaps Porzingis’ devastating ACL injury quickly ruined his second season. Hornacek also had a well-publicized confrontation with Joakim Noah. The combination of those factors, alongside a lack of offensive and defensive identity, led the new Knicks front office to relieve Hornacek of his duties after the season.
Hornacek’s Knicks tenure had some similarities with his run with the Phoenix Suns. Hornacek lost the Suns’ locker room early in the 2015-16 season after Markieff Morris threw a towel at him. Likewise, Hornacek never allowed himself to establish an offensive and defensive culture with the Knicks. He never took control of his own destiny in either situation.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things