Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek doesn't expect to be looking for a job next season.
"I still have next year so, unless they tell me something different," Hornacek told Newsday's Al Iannazzone when asked if he's staying with the Knicks next season. Hornacek also said, "I think everybody does," referring to the Knicks' front office.
This all came before the Knicks were blown out in Portland, 111-87, which was the team's 13th loss in 14 games. Hornacek's squad in the beginning of the season showed promise with a 17-14 start. But injuries and bad play ravaged the season, and they have gone 7-27 since.
The biggest injury was Kristaps Porzingis' torn ACL, and without him on the court, the team is 2-15.
"We got off to a good start," Hornacek said. "Then with injuries, were we deep enough with the top guys to overcome that? Obviously we weren't able to. But that doesn't mean that we haven't improved. Guys are getting better, trying to improve their competitiveness.
"Going into when we get KP back and our draft pick, and maybe free agency, we can be in better shape next year."
Even before the season started, Hornacek didn't have a favorable roster to compete for the playoffs. The Knicks are a rebuilding franchise, and GM Scott Perry said he just wants the team to play hard and compete. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case of late.
Now, Hornacek is being told to play the younger guys on the squad, which doesn't help the win column either.
"Some of these teams have some really dang good players," Hornacek said. "You go up against them and some nights they get you. A play here and there sometimes can make a difference. We'll just continue to plug away at it."
Hornacek does have one more year on the three-year, $15 million deal he signed with the Knicks back in 2016.
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I guess you can't expect Hornacek to say otherwise. You can't really expect him to say "No, I think I won't be back next season." The guy has to at least pretend that he has confidence that he will be back.
The front office isn't going to tell him about his real job security until the season ends. Either way, he's got a year and $5 million remaining on his three-year, $15 million contract. Everyone on the planet outside Hornacek expects him to be fired after the season. Going 7-27 in the last 34 games to go along with a 31-51 season that ended 15-38 is all the sample size you need. The Knicks may not be that good of a team, but they also aren't that atrocious. Hornacek has failed to make adjustments and get things right, and it's time to move on from him.
It would be a real shock if the Knicks decided to keep Hornacek for the final season of his contract. It's not even just about how bad their record is. It's about how it has all happened.
The Knicks looked like a playoff team last season, and this season for the first 30 games. All of a sudden, it was a complete 180, and scary downward spiral. It was like a new roster came in that just didn't belong. Also, the Knicks are historically bad in the third quarter. That consistent poor play falls directly on the head coach. He is not getting the team ready at all coming out of halftime. For the team to stay in games in the first half, and get blown out in the second half means Hornacek isn't getting them in the right mindset to go out and win these games.
If Hornacek returns, the Knicks fan base is going to be furious on top of the fact they won't have Porzingis for the first half of next season.