The Knicks have cut ties with head coach Jeff Hornacek, the team announced on Thursday morning.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and the New York Post’s Marc Berman were first to report the move early Thursday morning. The move came just hours after the Knicks finished the season with a 29-53 record. This season marks the fifth consecutive year the franchise has failed to make the postseason.
“We looked out and we have a plan for what this team should look like over the next three years or so,” Knicks President Steve Mills said. “We just thought this was an opportunity where we thought it was the right time to make a change.”
Mills and general manager Scott Perry said they didn’t see enough improvement on the court and enough communication and accountability off it. They informed Hornacek of their decision at the airport after flying home from a season-ending victory in Cleveland.
“We know the roster is not complete, we understand our roster as well as anybody,” Perry said at a news conference at the team’s training facility. “But again, just in terms of consistency and then a trend I would say toward consistency, Steve and I thought we fell a little bit short in that area.”
Associate head coach Kurt Rambis also was fired.
Hornacek’s time in The Big Apple was marred by a messy offseason parting with former All-Star Carmelo Anthony, whom the Knicks traded last summer to Oklahoma City. The team then tried to rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis, who appeared on his way to a breakout year. The 22-year-old’s season was cut short, however, by a torn ACL in early February.
At the time, the Knicks were already nine games under .500 and five games out of the playoffs. They spiraled further without Porzingis, enduring eight and nine-game losing streaks on the way to their third sub-30-win campaign over the last 10 years.
Hornacek coached just two seasons with the Knicks after a two-and-a-half-year stint with Phoenix. He finishes his New York tenure with a record of 60-104 after going 101-112 with the Suns.
The ouster sends the Knicks in search of their 11th coach since Jeff Van Gundy resigned in the 2001-02 season.
Mills said he and Perry were evaluating Hornacek and the Knicks this season on 10-game intervals and saw progress in some areas but not in others. They met with Hornacek a couple of weeks ago to discuss where things stood, so Mills said he didn’t think the decision was a complete shock to the coach.
“Jeff is a positive person and I think he was hopeful that there would be another opportunity, but he’s a pro,” Mills said. “He’s a good man and he took it well.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.