A first-round exit in the NBA playoffs didn’t bode well for Mark Jackson and his future as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, but perhaps his job security was decided before his team even took the court.
A season of ups and downs in the Bay Area has put Jackson very much on the heat seat. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Jackson doesn’t have one front-office ally who will fight for him to keep his job.
Mark Jackson doesn’t have one GSW front office ally who’ll make a case to ownership to keep him. “He’s on an island,” league source says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 4, 2014
The Warriors pushed the Los Angeles Clippers to seven games, but fall short in the series finale. Afterwards, Jackson’s post-game comments suggested he was coaching for his job.
“I don’t get caught up in it,” he said. “I have total confidence and total faith that I will be fine even if I’m a full-time pastor.”
The first sign of trouble came after Jackson re-assigned assist coach Brian Scalabrine to tend to the D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz. There was no basis for the move, but it angered Golden State management, which did not want him to leave the organization.
According to Wojnarowski’s report then, it was the latest hiccup between Jackson and the front office.
Over the past two years, Jackson’s difficulty with managing his coaching staff and creating a functional work environment has developed into one of the issues that threatens his future on the job, league sources said.
Scalabrine, who joined the staff in July, was Jackson’s choice as an assistant coach. For two straight years, Jackson has had issues with assistant coaches that he hired. Michael Malone and Jackson would go weeks without speaking to each other a year ago, league sources said. Malone left Golden State to become the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
Jackson, 48, is in his third year as coach of the Warriors with one year remaining on his contract. According to the report, he has tried — and failed — for head-coaching opportunities over the past year, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.
When asked about the validity of the report, Jackson said “none of it was true.”
“You get the feel that no matter what happens, our coach won’t be our coach next year,” O’Neal said. “You just get that feel. But we are willing to give all we’ve got for this group, for that coach, and hopefully whatever that will and whatever we’ve given is good enough to take us as far as we should go.
“Winning is hard, and hopefully everybody that supports this organization, that runs this organization, understands just how hard it is to win. And if you get a group that’s a good group that loves each other, that fights for each other, and can get a head coach (where) you see (former Warriors point guard and current Cleveland Cavaliers point guard) Jarrett Jack speaking about now from another situation, don’t take that for granted (because) 51 (wins) can go to 31.
“You know, chemistry is everything, and we’ll just keep fighting and find a way.”
Jackson may have a chance to salvage his job, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
If Jackson complies with management’s requests in regards to the coaching staff, it could allow Jackson to stay on for the final year of his deal. Or, given Jackson’s rocky track record with his assistants, it may make Jackson want to leave.