Mark Jackson has been fired after three seasons as coach of the Golden State Warriors, despite taking the team to the playoffs the last two years.
The team has several replacements already in mind, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, with Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy the leaders. Kerr is also considered the front-runner for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching vacancy, too. The Warriors, like the Los Angeles Lakers, may seek permission to speak with Chicago Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau.
Lost in Donald Sterling headlines during the Warriors’ playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers last week was the fact that the team became a mess at the worst time of the season. From Grantland’s Zach Lowe:
The Warriors in the last six weeks demoted one assistant and fired another, and ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard today reported that the team fired Darren Erman after learning Erman had recorded at least one coaches’ meeting. Multiple league sources confirmed the gist of Broussard’s report, and that Erman was concerned Mark Jackson and other coaches loyal to Jackson were insulting Erman to other players behind Erman’s back.
The team had no choice but to fire Erman. However, the front office is fond of Erman and was upset at having to let him go, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. The Erman firing and demotion of Brian Scalabrine have raised tensions throughout the Warriors’ organization.
Jackson made a show of firing Scalabrine in front of players and other coaches, but he had no real grounds, and the front office made Jackson find a compromise, per a source familiar with the matter: demoting Scalabrine to the D-League. In addition, Jackson has asked that Jerry West, a high-level adviser in Golden State, not attend most practices and team activities, sources say.
The tension with Erman got weird. Midseason, the team moved Erman’s parking spot to a less convenient place, likely at the behest of Jackson or one of Jackson’s allies on the staff, per multiple sources familiar with the matter. They began changing his duties in strange ways.
Jackson denied the allegations about West.