Generally, assistant coaches aren't exactly household names in the NBA.
Only serious fans of a specific team can list their own assistant coaches, and you'd be hard-pressed to find people who could name every one in the Association, even if they're as hardcore about basketball as it gets.
But the Golden State Warriors have bucked the trend throughout the 2013-14 season, thanks to a never-ending spiral of controversy. First there was Brian Scalabrine, who was unceremoniously demoted to the organization's D-League affiliate earlier in the year. Then there was Darren Erman, who was fired on April 5 after he secretly taped conversations among the coaching staff.
It turns out that Erman's violation was secretly recording conversations between the team's coaches and players, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Sources said Erman, who was coach Mark Jackson's second assistant, would record coaches' meetings, meetings between the coaches and players, and informal discussions among coaches that took place in the team's coaches room -- all without the participants' knowledge.
"He was taping everything," one source said. "Taping pregame speeches wouldn't have been that bad, but he was taping guys just sitting around talking in the coaches' office."
But while secret taping is a punishable offense within the Golden State system, it's clearly not a death knell for an NBA career. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Erman has already found another job:
The Boston Celtics have hired ex-Golden State Warriors assistant Darren Erman as Director of NBA Scouting, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 29, 2014
The 37-year-old had previously worked for the Boston Celtics, serving as an assistant coach for Doc Rivers over the course of four seasons.
"Erman’s previous stint with the Celtics involved scouting and individual skill development," writes WEEI.com's Ben Rohrbach. "And the Emory University product developed a reputation for ability to study film during his tenure."
If it's any consolation for those who feel such an egregious offense should be punished by more than around a month searching for a job, this isn't as high profile a job. There's no telling how a director of NBA scouting compares to an assistant coach in terms of rank within any given organization, but the general public at least knows far less about the former than the latter.
There's a slight chance a hardcore NBA fan could reel off the names of the assistant coaches for the Toronto Raptors (Bill Bayno, Nick Nurse, Jesse Mermuys, Tom Sterner, Jama Mahlalela and Alex McKechnie) and Phoenix Suns (Jerry Sichting, Mike Longabardi, Kenny Gattison and Mark West). There's no chance he or she could do the same with those teams' directors of NBA scouting.
For those of you who are curious, Dan Tolzman is the director of scouting for the Raptors, and Bubba Burrage is Phoenix's head pro personnel scout.
That's one thing working against Erman.
And hey, at least the whole NBA now knows to watch their tongues when he's around.