The Warriors have fired head coach Mark Jackson the team said today in a statement today. Owner Joe Lacob met with Jackson this morning to give him the news and we wrote about this possibility yesterday, but the axe fell sooner than expected despite ample and public support in the Warriors’ locker-room.
“It’s never easy to make a decision of this nature,” said General Manager Bob Myers in a statement. “Mark has accomplished many good things during his three years with the organization, including his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago. We’re appreciative of his dedication and commitment since his arrival and are extremely grateful for his contributions. However, as an organization, we simply feel it’s best to move in a different direction at this time.”
“Mark Jackson has had a big impact on the improvement of our team and the success that we’ve had over the last couple of years,” said Owner & CEO Joe Lacob. “Nonetheless, we must make some difficult decisions in our day-to-day operations of the club and this would certainly qualify as one of those examples. We wish Mark the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions over the last three years.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports gives a list of possible candidates to replace Jackson:
Golden State plans to pursue several top coaching candidates, with Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy at the top of the list, league sources said.
The possibility of reaching out to the Chicago Bulls for permission to speak with coach Tom Thibodeau will also be a consideration, league sources said.
The Warriors will likely move quickly to reach out to Kerr, who has strong relationships with owner Joe Lacob and president Rick Welts, league sources said.
Kerr’s preference is to advance into negotiations with New York president Phil Jackson on coaching the Knicks, sources said, but he hasn’t ruled out discussing the Warriors’ opening.
The Warriors also have interest in Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, but he’s been consistent in saying he wants to remain in college for the near future.
Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News adds that Jackson and assistant GM Kirk Lacob (the majority owner’s son) had a blow-up recently and hadn’t spoken since. Lacob is heavy into advanced analytics and his pull within the organization can’t be discounted considering his familial ties.
One major flash point, according to a source: Mark Jackson and asst-GM Kirk Lacob have zero relationship since a blow-up recently.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 6, 2014
Woj adds that Jackson had an antagonistic relationship with management and the more analytics-oriented coaching staff beneath him:
Jackson clashed constantly with management and struggled to manage his coaching staff during his Warriors tenure. Jackson’s disinterest in game preparation and reluctance to practice despite a mostly young and gifted roster played a part in management’s reluctance to commit long term to him, league sources said.
Jackson relied on an assistant coach, Darren Erman, to build a top-five defense, but Erman was fired late in the season after an incident that involved the taping of a conversation among the coaching staff.
Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk has more on the possible motives behind the firing including his discordance with former assistants Darren Erman, who was fired for covertly taping conversations with coaches and players, and Brian Scalabrine, who was demoted to Golden State’s D-League outfit late in the season:
I will confirm some of this from my sources — Jackson was seen as a motivator but not good at Xs and Os, he left that to his assistants then clashed with them over it. Both Brian Scalabrine, who was demoted to the D-League after Jackson tried to fire him in front of the team, and Erman (who felt so undermined by Jackson that he started surreptitiously recording conversations, which led to his dismissal) were favorites of owner Joe Lacob and management.
The 49-year-old Jackson became the third head coach in Warriors history to lead the team to at least 50 wins in a season (they were 51-31 this year). He also led the Warriors to consecutive playoff appearances the last two seasons for the first time since the 1990 and 1991 seasons.
Was it fair for Golden State to fire Mark Jackson?
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