Another day, another Mark Jackson controversy.
The latest one surfaced Tuesday when Zach Lowe of Grandland.com reporting that the situation in with the Golden State Warriors coach is extremely unstable, with Jackson trying to fire former assistant coach Brian Scalabrine in front of the players—without grounds—and Jackson not wanting consultant Jerry West at practices.
From Lowe’s piece:
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 to attend most practices and team activities, sources say.
The tension with (assistant coach Darren) 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.
The atmosphere has bordered on poisonous, though to the credit of Jackson, his staff, and his players, it has not spilled onto the court. The team plays hard, they’re very good, and they have a chance to make noise in the playoffs despite the ill-timed injury to Andrew Bogut. The players have almost universally spoken up, and quite loudly, in Jackson’s defense.
I keep trying to write all of this stuff off as not being important, focusing on the fact Jackson has coached this team to 98 regular-season wins and eight postseason victories in the past two seasons. But the rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper.
Jackson vehemently denied the report about West after Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“That’s a lie,” Jackson told USA Today. “Come on. That’s a lie. That’s disrespectful.”
There continues to be an undercurrent murmuring that Jackson could be fired after this season, despite the turnaround the team has made on the court. There are rumors the front office isn’t happy with the job Jackson did this season, 51-31, because the expectations were higher than that.
It’s hard to believe that a franchise with three playoff appearances in the last 20 seasons could be quibbling with the methods of the coach who directed two of those three playoff teams, but here we are.
How much of it is Jackson? How much of it is true? I suppose those answers will be coming soon, perhaps as soon as Friday should the Warriors not be able to defend homecourt against the Clippers in Game 6.