CLEVELAND (TNS) — Jeff Hornacek said Wednesday morning that he hopes to be able to finish what he started and follow through with the plan that he and Knicks president Steve Mills put together after Phil Jackson was fired last summer.
But Hornacek could be coaching his final game Wednesday night against the Cavaliers.
"We started it and we'd like to continue it, continue with this team to grow," Hornacek said leaning against a wall outside the visiting locker room at the morning shootaround. "It's very satisfying for coaches to take a team and build it and grow it. You can look around the league at some of the teams that are now some of the better teams in the league. They went through those same type of things.
"There a lot of these guys that stuck around now all of a sudden have their teams four or five years later and maybe even home court advantage for the playoffs. So sometimes people are wanting things to happen right away. But sometimes there's patience. That's what we're looking for."
Hornacek, who is 59-104 in two years as Knicks coach, has one year left on his contact. General manager Scott Perry and Mills made the trip to Cleveland and exchanged pleasantries with reporters, but they haven't taken on-the-record questions in months.
There have been no contract extension talks between management and Hornacek. Hornacek said he would be willing to return with only one year left on his deal.
"That's why you sign contracts," Hornacek said. "I have one more year. We'd love to continue with these guys and get some of the guys healthy and get back at it and continue that process. We didn't think it was going to be a one-year turnaround. That's our thoughts. That's what we'll continue to look at.
"We're still the coaches. Until something's different that's how we're treating it."
The Knicks will conduct their usual end-of-season exit meetings beginning on Thursday, and Hornacek said he expects to be a part of them along with Mills and Perry.
"I plan on it," he said. "No one told me no, so?"
The rumored candidates if Hornacek is fired include Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Doc Rivers, Jerry Stackhouse, David Blatt, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Monty Williams, Mike Brown and Stephen Silas.
The popular narrative has been that Perry, who was brought in last July, didn't hire Hornacek and will want to bring in his own guy. But Mills was with Jackson during the dinner and interviews with Hornacek. Mills and Hornacek worked closely over the past two years, particularly in devising this rebuilding plan.
"Steve, before Scott was hired, there was this plan we talked to (Madison Square Garden executive chairman and chief executive officer) Mr. (James) Dolan on and how it could be a few-year process and what we needed to try to grow," Hornacek said. "We've been trying to do that. Scott and Steve have been great all year. They're on all the trips all year and practices every day. It's great to have those guys there every day."
Hornacek faced major challenges in his two years on the job. Jackson made him run the triangle offense last year. Injuries to Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. have impacted this season.
The Knicks started 17-14 and have gone 11-39 since. Giving minutes to and developing the young players became the plan to start to build for the future. Now Hornacek's future is in doubt.
Hornacek figures he will meet with Mills and Perry on Thursday or Friday, but he said he would like to know his fate right away.
"I think all of the assistant coaches are like that too," he said. "We all have a year left on the contract. So until someone says no, it's just business as usual. That's how we approach it."