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Knicks president Phil Jackson throws curve ball by hiring of Jeff Hornacek

Knicks president Phil Jackson throws curve ball by hiring of Jeff Hornacek

Two years ago, MSG chairman James Dolan gave his fan base what they wanted by hiring Phil Jackson as president. It may prove to be one of those cautionary tales everyone lives to regret if Jeff Hornacek doesn't work out as the next coach.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Hornacek has landed his second job as a head NBA coach with them Thursday, according to multiple reports. Jackson, who had insisted for months that he wanted someone who installs the triple-post (aka Triangle) offense and with whom he has had a past relationship, will face more criticism than ever.

There’s no connection between Jackson and Hornacek, who was fired by the Phoenix Suns with a 101-112 record (47.4%) and no playoff appearances. Hornacek spent three years as an assistant with the Utah Jazz before being fired in the middle of his third season in Phoenix.

I’m not a huge fan of citing a coach’s past record as evidence that he can’t coach. If you don’t have the players, chances are your record won’t be very good. If you have a disjointed from office that eers in building the roster, chances are your record won’t be very good. And especially with coaches like Hornacek who don’t have a ton of experience, a learning curve for them is required just as it is with young players.


The Knicks are terrible. If the previous resume matters that much, Jackson, who has won 11 NBA championships as a coach, should’ve built a team that has done better than 17-65 and 32-50 in his two seasons in charge.

He, of course, is a novice when it comes to being an executive. The hiring of his former pupil Derek Fisher was a train wreck that ended with his firing. Jackson then installed Kurt Rambis on an interim basis because of his triangle background though he failed with it miserably as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Knicks even held a camp for players after the season on running the triangle, which was successfully run by Jackson when he had the likes of Michel Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant in Chicago and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum with the L.A. Lakers.

In New York, they have an aged, disgruntled and slowing Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and pretty much that’s it. 

A person with Jackson's record of winning guarantees nothing. Hornacek’s record of losing, though he led the Suns to 48 wins two years ago and failed to make the playoffs in the West which was incredibly deep, doesn’t mean he’s going to fail. How does one go from being a Coach of the Year finalist to now being a suspect coach? It's all about job fit. 

Though probably won't get the benefit of the doubt, Hornacek should. He could possibly be good for at least now. The Wizards had Randy Wittman as coach and despite having talent limitations on the roster he took them to 44, 46 and 41 wins after they couldn’t get to 30 four years in a row. Two playoff appearances resulted in making it to the East semifinals and likely the conference final last year if not for John Wall’s broken wrist. Majority owner Ted Leonsis was told constantly that Wittman needed to be fired and didn't pull the trigger until not making the playoffs this season with a .500 record. It was the correct decision and no team owner or president should engage in populism. 

Do that and Clyde Frazier might be back in uniform. Here in D.C, they'd bring back malcontent Gilbert Arenas. Remember how Knicks fans roundly booed the selection of Porzingis in last year's draft? That was a massive popular opinion fail. 

No matter who they have as coach, the Knicks aren’t going to win 60 games in 2016-17. The process in which Jackson came to the conclusion, however, didn’t make him look very presidential. Quirky, impulsive and aloof? Definitely.

Hornacek was mired in a cesspool in Phoenix, created by the front office with bad moves (trading Isaiah Thomas) and inciting bad blood that carried over to the bench (Markieff Morris) by not being honest.

The Knicks could qualify as a similar situation and the attention there is much greater. Hornacek will have his work cut out for him but deserves the chance to succeed. He might not have been everyone's top choice but fact that he's not Rambis should convince everyone to hold off on the boos.


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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue stepping away from team to deal with health issues

An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.

Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.


Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.


The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week. 

That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.


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