NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks want Jeff Hornacek as their next coach.
The team is working on a deal to hire Hornacek, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson has had discussions with the former Phoenix Suns coach and there is mutual interest, but they have not begun negotiations on a contract, the person said on condition of anonymity because details of the coaching search are private.
Bleacher Report first reported that the Knicks would hire Hornacek.
The Knicks finished the season with Kurt Rambis as interim coach after Jackson fired Derek Fisher in February. Jackson also met with former Cleveland coach David Blatt and former Indiana coach Frank Vogel before turning his attention to Hornacek.
Hornacek went 101-112 in 2 1/2 seasons in Phoenix before he was fired Feb. 1 with a 14-35 record. He led the Suns to a surprising 48-34 record in his first season, when they almost made the playoffs with a team that was expected to be one of the worst in the league, but the team was in one of the worst stretches in its history when he was dismissed.
He was an unexpected candidate, given Jackson's stated intention to hire someone with whom he had a relationship. Hornacek never played for or worked under Jackson, who won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach.
Rambis had been the only candidate Jackson identified after the season ended in April. He was only 9-19 after replacing Fisher, but is close with Jackson and runs the triangle offense that Jackson favors.
Hornacek, who played in two NBA Finals with the Utah Jazz when they lost to Jackson's Chicago Bulls, ran a fast-paced, guard-oriented offense in Phoenix.
The Knicks finished 32-50 last season, their third straight season out of the playoffs.
Jackson was in no hurry to make a hire, saying last month it could be May, or could be July. While other teams worked quickly to fill their openings, he took a trip across the country, posting some pictures on Twitter along the way.
But he began talking at some point with Hornacek and will try to close a deal he could never get done with Steve Kerr two summers ago. Jackson said he let Kerr out of a verbal agreement when the Golden State job became available, and the Knicks ended up hiring Fisher.