Mark Jackson Reassigns Warriors Assistant Coach Brian Scalabrine

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2014

USA Today

Assistant NBA coaches have seen better days.

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 26, at 9:00 a.m. ET by Dan Favale

Mark Jackson responded to Yahoo! Sports' report, calling rumors of dysfunction "comical," per the Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung.

"We are excited about what's taken place up until this point—the culture, the environment with no dysfunction at all," Jackson said Tuesday. "That's comical."

Though Jackson did indeed reassign assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, the initial report portrayed him as some sort of power-hungry control freak. While elaborating on his decision, Jackson painted a different picture.

From Leung:

With any staff or any job, there's going to be difference in philosophies. At the end of the day, whoever's in charge makes a decision, and that's the way you go. And we're united. Whether we're right, wrong or indifferent, and I think that's important.

We are tied together. To me, that can't be debated. But with any coach or organization, you're going to have difference of opinions. But when you come out of the door, it's united, and that's the way it's supposed to be.

Citing differences in philosophies can be a cop out, or it can be the truth. We don't really know. What goes on behind closed doors is beyond our reach.

But Jackson did make a good point: If the Warriors are, in fact, locked in a state of collective dissension, more people would be talking about it.

---End of update---


Original Text

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has elected to give former NBA player, resident Association novelty and current assistant coach Brian Scalabrine the Lawrence Frank treatment:

In what's become an increasingly dysfunctional atmosphere, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson has forced a reassignment of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ownership and management have been strong advocates of Scalabrine and his performance on the job, sources told Yahoo Sports. Nevertheless, Warriors officials decided that as long as Jackson is the head coach, he'll have control of his coaching staff.

It is immediately unclear what kind of a role to which the Warriors will transition Scalabrine, but management has no intention of letting him leave the organization, sources said.

The Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung cleared up Scalabrine's status even further: 

Though the report doesn't bode well for Scalabrine, it's Jackson that Wojnarowski unloads on. He says that Jackson continues to have problems "managing his coaching staff and creating a functional work environment," which could ultimately lead to his own removal. 

In the meantime, Scalabrine can seek the advice of banished Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Lawrence Frank.

BROOKLYN, NY - OCTOBER 20:  Lawrence Frank and Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets talk during practice at The Barclays Center on October 20, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using th
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Rookie head coach Jason Kidd demoted Frank—who previously coached Kidd—back in December, citing "different philosophies," per the New York Post's Tim Bontemps.

While Kidd was heavily criticized for how the situation unfolded, Jackson later defended his decision.

"To me, I think too much was made of it," Jackson opined in January, via the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy. "I think it’s clownish."

Of course Jackson saw the criticism as ridiculous. He and Kidd are cut from the same mold.

Known for speaking in hyperbole, Jackson has also had problems with assistants in the past, Wojnarowski reveals. Jackson and former assistant Michael Malone, who now coaches the Sacramento Kings, would apparently go "weeks" without speaking to one another.

No surprises there, given how Jackson bristled on the subject of control while waxing support of Kidd.

"There’s no difference of opinions with my staff and I," he deadpanned, per Bondy. "They give suggestions. Some I go with. Some I don’t. But at the end of the day it’s my decision and we are united in whichever way we decide to go. If you have a problem with that, you should not be my assistant coach."

Chances are Scalabrine has found himself reassigned for acts of betrayal and disunity that are actually refusals to submit to Jackson's stubborn will. We don't really know.

But we do know that Kidd's previous decision, however unfair, incited change. The Nets were 5-12 when Kidd relegated Frank to clipboard purgatory (or something like that). Since then, they're a more impressive 32-20, firmly planting themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff conversation.

Maybe the Warriors, who are 44-27 and in sixth place in the Western Conference, will experience similar success. Maybe Scalabrine's removal will spark change, serving as the kind of shakeup that allows them to shoot up the standings.

Or maybe this is just an example of one coach exhibiting his power and authority over another, no deeper or more profound meaning intended. 


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