The end of the 2017-18 NBA regular season also means a merciful finish for some teams who have not had the years they anticipated. For the New York Knicks, which put forth another 50-loss season and also saw their franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis, tear an ACL, the finish might be considered merciful.
That might not be the case for head coach Jeff Hornacek, however, who has a year left on his current contract and might not get the chance to work through that deal. An extension isn’t expected, which isn’t a very good sign or his tenure with the team moving forward.
But Hornacek says he knows nothing about a Knicks future without him. He told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the team’s final regular season game that he expects to do end-of-season interviews and is looking forward to helping the team take the next step, a step many hoped would have happened this season.
“We’d love to continue with these guys and get some of the guys healthy and get back at it and continue that process,” Hornacek told the New York Post. “We didn’t think it was going to be a one-year turnaround. That’s our thoughts.”
The embattled coach, who is reportedly one of two that could be fired as early as Thursday, said he wants to be around for when the Knicks “blossom.”
“You expect a rebuilding situation to go out there and win 50 games? That’s why they call it rebuilding. But when you mention rebuilding, you’re still trying to win games. Do the little things, teach these guys. I think the guys have done a great job of sticking together, continuing to play. It’s easy to get down when you know you’re not making the playoffs and you’re out of it. These guys haven’t. They want to get better.
“It may not set you up for this year, but you lay the foundation and continue to work at it. At some point it’s going to blossom. That’s the hope you keep working at it, and all of a sudden it pops.”
Hornacek compared himself to Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown, who was allowed to stay with the team despite its tanking and rebuilding process and now helms a team ready to host a playoff series this spring. It’s unclear if he will be allowed to do the same thing in New York, but it’s clearly something he expects to do until he’s told otherwise.