The New York Knicks are going to reach out to Villanova’s Jay Wright about their head coaching position, which is open after Knicks management fired Jeff Hornacek, the New York Daily News reported.
Knicks executives consider Wright to be just the man to revive a franchise that has struggled in recent years, according to a source with knowledge of the team. Wright has been considered for other NBA coaching positions in prior years but has not been interested in them, according to the Daily News. He recently won the 2018 NCAA national championship, just two seasons removed from another title.
“He told me years ago that he wanted to make Villanova into the Duke of the Northeast,” an individual who knows Wright told the Daily News. “It would take a lot for him to leave.”
Wright has a 420-165 record as Villanova and Hofstra’s head coach.
“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright told The Athletic‘s Dana O’Neil. “That challenge is appealing, but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge, you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”
Besides Wright, candidates to replace Hornacek include Jerry Stackhouse, Craig Robinson, Jason Kidd, Dwane Casey, David Blatt, David Fizdale, Adrian Griffin, Mark Jackson, and Doc Rivers, according to The New York Post. Hornacek, who led the Knicks for two years, and associate head coach Kurt Rambis were terminated Thursday, the Daily News reported.
Stackhouse may be hired by the Orlando Magic, however, the Daily News reported.
Robinson, the Knicks’ vice president of player and organization development, used to be the head coach at Oregon State, according to the Daily News.
Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry did not believe that Hornacek communicated nor connected well enough with players, established a “sense of accountability” for them nor fostered a culture of defense, the Post reported.
“We progressed in some areas and were lacking in others,” Mills said, according to the Post. “It was a time for a new voice and a locker room with a new presence with our players. We have a plan on what this team should look like over the next three years, and we just thought this was the opportunity and right time to change.”
“I think just as we observed the team, there were a lot of things that we just thought would be better at, from attention to detail to player accountability, and Jeff did a good job in some areas. In some areas he could have done a bit of a better job. We just thought there was an opportunity to get someone who really fit where we want to be three-to-five years from now.”