This was going to be a hard enough job anyway. Jeff Hornacek already was going to have to deal with the massaging of egos, with the development of Kristaps Porzingis, with the aging of Carmelo Anthony, with the natural wariness a new coach and a new approach always brings a new locker room. He already was going to stand as the latest in a line of X-and-O saviors who have come and gone these last 16 years as the Knicks devolved from princes of the city to paupers of the NBA, a stretch of basketball haplessness that defies explanation. He already was going to have to deal with the looming shadow known as Phil Jackson — who popped into practice Tuesday — and he already discovered how measured he has to be when talking about things like the triangle, creating a mini-sensation when he said last week: “Guys don’t like to run it.” All of that was waiting for him anyway. The ongoing Derrick Rose situation, that wasn’t something he had factored into the equation. The Knicks downplayed how much distraction it would be. Rose himself downplayed how much distraction it would be. At the time, it seemed oddly naïve, the notion a civil rape case could be a limited disruption, if for no other reason than the case would be heard in a courtroom some 3,000 miles away. The reality, of course, is that it is not only a distraction, it is a 40,000-ton elephant that lingers in every practice absent Rose, at every preseason game absent Rose. And will linger further once he returns to the team for good. “If Derrick was back, we could figure out a rotation,” Hornacek said Tuesday, as the Knicks wrapped up practice before finishing out their preseason schedule with back-to-back games Wednesday at Boston and Thursday at Brooklyn — games Rose may (but likely will not) participate in. “The teams in the league, a handful of them have the same guys back and they’ll have a little of an advantage,” Hornacek said. “Today’s collective bargaining agreement, the amount of money out there, guys are switching teams, a lot of teams are in the same boat trying to figure out the same thing. If you can ever figure out how to keep a team together for 3-4 years, you’ll have an advantage.” So there’s that: a new coach, and lots of new players, including a former league MVP who probably is going to be the one who decides exactly how good this team is — whenever he can report for work regularly. That’s an issue. That’s a problem, especially for a team desperate to get off to a quick start whose first four games come against teams who made the playoffs last year, with the defending-champion Cavaliers leading off Tuesday. Derrick Rose arrives at court in Los Angeles on Oct. 18.Photo: AP But whenever this case wraps up, and whether or not Rose is ordered to fork over the $21 million his alleged victim is seeking, the distraction won’t just evaporate. Maybe the things Rose already has admitted to — having oral sex with the woman, who was already having sex with one of his boyhood friends — won’t destroy a professional locker room, which always houses secrets and rarely offers judgment. But how will that play in public? How will that play at Madison Square Garden, which likes to believe it is the home office for family-friendly entertainment? How will this play on the road? Back in June, during a deposition for this case, this was an actual quote from Rose when he was asked if he understood the meaning of the word “consent”: “No,” he replied. “But can you tell me?” How will that play? Look, we long ago parted ways with the fiction that we live in anything resembling an innocent age. The presidential race has frayed into a sordid shooting gallery of sexual-assault charges lobbed back and forth between the warring campaigns. Bill Cosby has been charged as being, quite possibly, the worst kind of sexual deviant, one who takes care to allegedly drug his victims before attacking them. We have lost our capacity for surprise, yes, and perhaps even our capacity for outrage. But will all of that simply be forgotten whenever the trial ends? Or is it possible Derrick Rose’s presence will be every bit as distracting — and as troublesome — as his absence? Hard job, the one Jeff Hornacek has. And it won’t be getting any easier any time soon.