Dan Feldman

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Report: Knicks won’t fire Jeff Hornacek

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Has Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek earned the respect of his players? Some evidence suggests no.

Has Hornacek earned the respect Knicks fans? New York’s 27-41 record says no.

Has Hornacek earned the respect of Knicks president Phil Jackson? Hornacek is saying everything he can to make the answer yes.

Newsflash: Appeasing your boss matters.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Despite the Knicks’ brutal record and growing input of Phil Jackson, who reversed the head coach’s offense, Jeff Hornacek’s job is safe, according to an NBA source.

When Jackson fired Derek Fisher in February 2016, during the coach’s second season, it was not because of a poor win-loss record. Sources insist Fisher was dismissed because of his lack of communication with Jackson, failing to respond to Jackson’s emails promptly and a passive-aggressive resistance to Jackson being involved with coaching aspects.

Hornacek, according to an NBA source, gets high grades on both counts — maintaining a strong rapport with Jackson and associate head coach Kurt Rambis, Jackson’s longtime compatriot.

“Phil can’t afford to fire [Hornacek] and bring in a new coach,’’ said another NBA source, who has spoken to Jackson.

James Dolan has pledged to keep Jackson, but that doesn’t mean the Knicks owner will give Jackson carte blanche. Firing another coach wouldn’t reflect well on the franchise (and it’d cost money).

But the problem isn’t firing coaches. Its hiring coaches who should be fired so quickly.

Hornacek might be a solid coach. But how good can he be if Jackson demands Hornacek run the triangle, a scheme Hornacek never coached before? How good can Hornacek be if he’s caught in the middle of the discord between Jackson and Carmelo Anthony?

Leaving Hornacek in place won’t magically fix those issues. It might just delay the Knicks finding a coach who can work successfully with Jackson.

But an even better solution than firing Hornacek: Finding a president who doesn’t have such a shallow pool of coaches who can work well with him.

76ers’ D-League team to wear Pink Power Ranger jerseys (photo)

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While everyone else wears green tomorrow, the 76ers’ D-League team, the Delaware 87ers, are going a different route for their game against the Salt Lake City Stars.

87ers release:

The Pink Power Ranger costume character is scheduled to be in attendance to meet and greet fans. Sevens players will wear custom uniforms inspired by the Pink Ranger’s iconic design featured in Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The game-worn, autographed jerseys will later be available to fans in an auction, which will benefit March of Dimes.

Wait. Power Rangers is on Nickelodeon now?

Isaiah Thomas missing Celtics’ upcoming road trip

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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The second-place Celtics are trying to fend off the Wizards (1.5 games back) and maybe even catch the Cavaliers (two games up).

Boston will have to battle for position this weekend without its best player, Isaiah Thomas.

Celtics:

Boston beat the Magic by 30 in the first game Thomas missed this season, prompting far too many questions about whether the Celtics were better without him. Then they lost their other three games without Thomas: vs. Raptors, at Thunder, at Spurs.

Thomas is excellent, in the midst of arguably the best season ever by a sub-6-foot player. Whatever his shortcomings, particularly defensively, he brings far more positives.

That said, the Celtics have shown an ability to outplay lousy teams, and their opponents this weekend – Nets on Friday, 76ers on Sunday – qualify. Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier can handle point-guard duties in Thomas’ absence.

Boston might have to experiment with its biggest star sidelined, but that’s not so bad.

Dwyane Wade out for season with broken elbow

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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Has Dwyane Wade played his last game for the Bulls?

The star guard, who can opt out this summer, is done for at least this year.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

This isn’t the type of injury that should hold back the 35-year-old Wade, who’d make $23.8 million next season if he opts in, once he heals. As long he’ll be ready for the start of next season, potential suitors shouldn’t be dissuaded in free agency – because of this. Wade’s creaky knees and declining production cause enough apprehension.

The Bulls have more immediate concerns. One game and two teams out of playoff position, they want to reach the postseason.

Chicago has little choice but to lean even more on Jimmy Butler, a concerning prospect considering Butler’s struggles since a heel injury last month. Denzel Valentine and Paul Zipser could also receive larger roles.

Wade is no longer an elite player, but he carried a huge offensive load for the Bulls while maintaining reasonable efficiency and without being a defensive liability. He won’t be easily replaced.

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown separated on Celtics bench amid apparent argument (video)

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Marcus Smart, who jawed with an assistant coach earlier this season, found a new verbal sparring partner on the Celtics’ bench: Jaylen Brown.

What was the issue between Smart and Brown?

Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine of CSN New England do a nice job in the above video laying out what we know and don’t know.

At least Boston beat the Timberwolves. That will help everyone get past any hurt feelings.