Either Mark Jackson is allergic to NBA Hall of Famers, or he's an amalgam of supremely stubborn and oddly high maintenance.
Many of the Golden State Warriors head coach's tactics and preferences are weird or inexplicable. His alleged treatment of Hall of Famer Jerry West is both.
According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, "Jackson has asked that Jerry West, a high-level adviser in Golden State, not attend most practices and team activities," because, well, we don't really know.
Maybe Jackson isn't impressed by West's 25,192 career points. Or maybe the glare off West's 1972 NBA championship ring gets in his eyes.
Or maybe Jackson is a compulsive micromanager with no clear rhyme or reason to what he does.
Like he tends to do in these situations, Jackson denied Lowe's findings.
Is it a lie, though?
Jackson has been linked to a medley of quirky decisions and patronizing behavior in the past. Most recently, he's been criticized for his treatment of departed assistants Brian Scalabrine (reassigned) and Darren Erman (fired), per Lowe:
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.
The tension with 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.
Parking-spot politics are the worst.
Working for or alongside Jackson might be the worst.
Or severely overblown.
Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine reports that Erman was canned for "secretly recording conversations between the team's coaches and players," while Scal was essentially demoted for exhibiting a "consistent pattern of disrespect toward Jackson and the other coaches." Sources also told Amick that West has, in fact, been seen at recent Warriors practices, so there is a chance Jackson's actions are being exaggerated.
Yet there's no denying the tension that exists in Oakland. Jackson's job is hardly secure. It's potentially on the line if the Warriors fail to get past the Clippers:
Consensus around league is it is very unlikely for Jackson to be back next season in GSW barring long playoff run.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 29, 2014
There's too much smoke for there not to be some sort of fire. As a fiercely candid, outspoken individual, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that Jackson is making waves within the Warriors organization. It also wouldn't come as a shock to anyone if he's dismissed after this season.
Aside from the off-court drama, Jackson remains headstrong in his coaching tendencies. He often runs with five bench players at a time, and despite their excess of firepower, the Warriors have been middling offensively all year, no doubt thanks to some fallow, isolation-heavy play-calling.
Even so, Jackson always seems to reach his players. Most of them have been forthcoming and outright in supporting him.
Will Mark Jackson be coaching the Warriors next season?
Curry's support alone may be enough to keep Jackson in the Warriors' employ. He's the franchise cornerstone—the superstar.
If the Warriors are committed to keeping him happy, then they'll just have to put up with whatever Jackson may or may not be endorsing away from the public eye.
Parking-spot statecraft and all.