According to sources who spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical, late Sunday night, after the Phoenix Suns returned home from a 91-78 loss to a Dirk-less Dallas squad, Jeff Hornacek was informed by General Manager Ryan McDonough that he had been let go.
The timing of the decision isn’t surprising. The loss to the Mavericks was their 19th defeat over their last 21 games and their 13th consecutive loss on the road. Hornacek’s top two assistants — including Mike Longabardi, who is now Tyronn Lue’s top assistant in Cleveland — were terminated a month ago, and there were questions about his job security around Christmas. At the time of the termination, the Suns are 14-35, the third-worst record in the West.
After finishing with a surprising 48-34 record in his first year as head coach — including a runner-up in Coach of the Year voting — with a team many expected to be the worst in the Association, Hornacek posted a decent 39-43 record last season despite some in-season turmoil. McDonough’s three-guard experiment failed after he signed Isaiah Thomas in the summer of 2014, and even their All-NBA point guard, Goran Dragic, asked to be traded last season.
So Dragic and Thomas were dealt to Miami and Boston, respectively, with incoming Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe deemed the backcourt of the future. But Bledsoe injured his knee right around the time Phoenix went on a 5-15 tailspin this year (they started the season, 7-5) and Knight was eventually was listed as out for the season. Hornacek has also been missing Brandon Knight since Jan. 21 with a groin injury. As a cherry on top of Phoenix’s injury-ravaged season, T.J. Warren has recently been battling an ankle injury.
According got Woj, Hornacek’s interim replacement on the sideline will be either Corey Gaines, or former player, Earl Watson. Interviews with assistants will happen today.