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Jeff Hornacek: Triangle didn’t square with attracting talent to Knicks

Head coach Jeff Hornacek of the New York

Head coach Jeff Hornacek of the New York Knicks watches from the bench during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 26, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks should have an easier time attracting free agents this year than they did last year. So says Jeff Hornacek, the current coach who may or may not be a part of the offseason recruiting process.

When asked after practice Friday if he thought the fact that the Knicks have had four straight 50-loss seasons would scare off free agents, Hornacek said it wouldn’t be a big factor to overcome. He went on to say that what might have been a factor in years past was the triangle offense that the team had been playing under former team president Phil Jackson.

“I think it probably was,” Hornacek said when asked if the triangle was a hangup for some players. “I think we believed that we could blend it and we found out that probably wasn’t great. So most of the teams, if you look around the league, most of the teams play the same way. There’s not a lot of difference in how teams play. It’s getting certain guys, with their abilities, to put them in those positions (to succeed). Again, if you look at down the road, I don’t think it’s that far off.”

Hornacek, who has one more year remaining on his contact, said he thinks that Kristaps Porzingis will be a big drawing card, even if he isn’t returning until the middle of next season.

“Are we ready next year? With KP coming back a little later, probably no. But the pieces are getting laid down,” he said. “You have Porzingis and a lot of guys around the league have talked about wanting to play with him. They know he’s a great player. And from what we were able to without him this year, give the guys a lot of experience.

“They see the pieces and sometimes that all it takes is one guy one year, another guy another year and now you’re all right. I think that’s the selling point.”

Hornacek said he didn’t think the rebuild had to be a long-term process.

“You can look at Minnesota maybe for an example,” he said. “They had great players in (Karl-Anthony) Towns and (Andrew) Wiggins, to picks in the draft. And where were they? And then all of the sudden you add Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson and a couple of veterans, and all of the sudden they are really good. Sometimes it’s just one or two pieces that ties everything together.”

Notes and quotes

Kyle O’Quinn (hip) and Courtney Lee (foot) are probable for Saturday’s game against Detroit. Frank Ntilikina’s status is questionable due to illness and Enes Kanter (back) is doubtful.

New York Sports