Coach Jeff Hornacek said he expects the Knicks to be running the triangle offense exclusively from the beginning of training camp next season and explained that he's unsure if the club's core of Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis can make New York a playoff team unless it fully embraces the system.
"Obviously, if we go into it like we did this year -- no," Hornacek told reporters in Utah when asked if the Rose-Anthony-Porzingis trio can be playoff caliber. "If we turn around and have a different way we start, go right at however we're going to run it next year, if it's full triangle, it's possible. You never know how these things will fit. Maybe a second year is helpful for us."
Hornacek also said he made a mistake in the beginning of this season by trying to blend the triangle with a more up-tempo style of basketball, and he reiterated that personnel decisions this summer will be based on the triangle.
"Do we have the right fit of guys running the system?" Hornacek said. "If we think that we can somehow -- with a fresh start of training camp and go to it right off the bat, if that helps us and Phil [Jackson] and Steve [Mills] -- we think maybe the same guys on this team could have a different outlook on it, then we'll stay the same. If not, they'll look at other guys."
Hornacek didn't mention any Knicks by name, but Rose is a free agent this summer, and the Knicks offered Anthony in trade talks prior to February's trade deadline. Anthony has a no-trade clause, but he intimated earlier this week that he would consider waiving his no-trade clause to play for a winning team.
So the Knicks' roster next season might look significantly different than it did this season, when the club fell well short of expectations. New York (27-43) entered Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz tied with the Sacramento Kings for the sixth-worst record in the NBA.
Based on Hornacek's comments on Wednesday, it's clear that the club will be fully committed to the triangle at the beginning of next season. Some veterans have privately expressed displeasure about the system this season due to its slow pace and a perceived overreliance on midrange shots, according to sources.
"Everybody coming into next year, we got to buy into the one way that we do it," Hornacek said. "We probably tried to piece too many things together this year, and we could never get it together quick enough. So we'll look at everything next year."
Hornacek tried to blend an up-tempo system that featured more pick-and-roll with "aspects of the triangle" earlier this season. But after the All-Star break, the club ran the triangle -- team president Jackson's preferred offense -- with more frequency.
Hornacek said Wednesday that it was a mistake to try to mix the two approaches.
"We were trying to find a balance," Hornacek said. "We were trying to open the game up so the current players could run some of that stuff and still have the triangle set where we can get into some stuff.
"As it turns out, looking back, it probably wasn't the greatest thing to do, because you're not focused on one or the other. You're not getting enough of the same repetition of the same play, and they can make reads off it. It's something we have to make a decision on and just go with it."
ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.