Why did Phil Jackson – after all indications to the contrary – reach outside his coaching tree to hire Jeff Hornacek? The early spin is that the Knicks president likes the way Hornacek thinks the game.
But was Jackson fully behind the Hornacek hire?
Of course, there’s also the suggestion that the Hornacek hire came at the behest of Isiah Thomas, whose high school coach in Chicago, Gene Pingatore, has employed Hornacek’s father, John, as his lead assistant for 25 years.
This might not be fair. Jeff Hornacek has been involved in basketball for decades and has established many connections. Add degrees of separation, and you can connect him to thousands of people. One of them being Isiah Thomas isn’t necessarily relevant here.
But as long as Knicks owner James Dolan continues to give Thomas jobs – Knicks president, Knicks coach, Knicks consultant, something, Liberty president – and express his personal affinity for Thomas, people will speculate. Dolan invites it.
The Knicks are the only team in the NBA where you can’t be sure the guy being paid $12 million per year to run basketball operations is truly running basketball operations.