Per Ethan Sherwood Strauss of Truehoop, Jackson didn't just refute the contents of Wojnarowski's report—he attacked the work of one of the most respected voices in the NBA media:
MJax: "It's poor reporting by Wojnarowski if he decided and knew this to hold onto it till yesterday. I mean, that's blockbuster stuff"— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 26, 2014
And then, doubling back just to be perfectly clear, he explicitly claimed contents the report—which focused on Jackson's demotion of former assistant Brian Scalabrine to the Warriors' D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz—were false:
MJax continued on the Woj piece: "Not true. None of it was true."— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 26, 2014
Per Wojnarowski's sources, Scalabrine's abrupt exit was symptomatic of a larger disease in the Jackson regime. It was a reminder of how Jackson trumpets unity and positive culture while, reportedly, reacting to an increasingly hotter seat by clashing with his assistants.
Ironically, Jackson cited the corroboration of former right-hand man Mike Malone—someone who, according to Wojnarowksi, would go weeks without speaking to Jackson during the 2012-13 season—in shooting down the idea of dissension in the Dubs' ranks:
"Mike Malone commented and said his part was a lie. So there you have that," MJax on the Woj piece— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 26, 2014
Whenever confronted with reports of internal strife (or any negative criticism, really), Jackson turns up his typically self-assured demeanor to its highest level. His response in this instance was no different. Confident, dismissive and even playful, Jackson was his usual sermonizing self when shooting down the explosive report.
To be fair to the embattled head coach, what's he supposed to say? He can't come out and admit he's losing control of his coaching staff for the second straight year. He can't cop to shipping out Scalabrine, a widely liked personality and capable coach, because he was threatened by the up-and-comer.
Per Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News, Jackson's feelings on coaching-staff disagreements have always been pretty clear: "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."
The Scalarbrine incident showed that, for Jackson, being united means cutting away any opinions that clash with his own.
Jackson is under serious pressure. There's a growing sentiment among Bay Area fans that the current roster is underachieving on his watch. The ownership group that hired him is growing increasingly impatient.
Warriors fans haven't been spoiled with much success in recent decades, and Jackson has repeatedly asserted they should be happy with the team's current position as a playoff threat. He's partially correct on that point, which is why Dubs supporters should be especially concerned with the recent turmoil.
Wojnarowski's report is almost certainly true, but even if it isn't, Jackson's growing insecurity could compromise Golden State's playoff hopes this season. And looking further down the line, a potential coaching shakeup could disrupt the chemistry of the roster and have a negative impact on the many young players who still support him wholeheartedly.
Per Wojnarowski, owner Joe Lacob and the front office are going to ride with Jackson for the time being:
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.
If there are more reports like Wojnarowski's, or if the Dubs bow out of the playoffs without winning a series or two, expect that stance to change in a hurry.