The job security of Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has been a hot topic in recent weeks. Team owner Joe Lacob, however, seems to have put those rumors to bed for the short term.
“Honest to God, that’s the media that is doing all this,” Lacob said of Jackson’s reportedly shaky job status, per Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears. “There is nothing going on until after the season. I refuse to let anyone talk about that. We don’t talk about it. We haven’t had that discussion. Everybody in the entire organization is reviewed after the season and we make decisions.”
So while Lacob insists that internal discussions about his current head coach haven’t taken place, he didn’t exactly ensure a long-term future either.
That’s a narrative that dates back to last summer, when contract talks between both parties broke down despite the fact that Jackson led his squad to the Western Conference Semifinals.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News cited those “aborted talks” and added the following:
They’re fissures now, widening by the week, even after a 51-victory regular season and back-to-back playoff appearances.
If there is a lack of trust now, it began a year ago when Lacob and Jackson contemplated what it would take to extend this relationship much longer.
By the way, my understanding is that Warriors management has made no final decision on Jackson, who is under contract for one more season and has done impressive things with this team throughout his three-season tenure.
The Dubs have improved from a record standpoint in three consecutive seasons under Jackson.
While 51 wins and a playoff berth is what other NBA teams dream about, the “what have you done for me lately?” mantra within the Association would hurt Jackson if his team fails to make it out of the first round.
Golden State has a chance to pull off a second first-round upset in a two-year span on May 3 at Staples Center. It’s possible, however, that the hotly-contested series has merely been a smokescreen.
At least that’s what CBS Sports’ Matt Moore suggests, while taking a not-so-subtle jab at the Warriors owner in the process:
So if Lacob thinks ‘the media’ is making this stuff up, he should go ahead and sign Jackson to a long-term extension. I don’t mind if Lacob wants to move on from Jackson, the Warriors underperformed all season and his success in this round is the same no matter what, but it’s also been as a result of Blake Griffin foul trouble and the Donald Sterling affair. In games in which the Clippers have had some measure of normalcy, they’ve blown the Warriors out.
Moore makes a great point. If Golden State truly felt confident with Jackson at the helm, a contract extension should have happened a year ago. As it stands, however, the Warriors are facing a do-or-die Game 7 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
While Jackson could very well face the same ill fate of guys like George Karl and Lionel Hollins—who were both fired after reaching the playoffs last season—at least his players have his back.
Stephen Curry added the following, per Leung:
If we’re losing and not playing the way we’re supposed to, obviously people sill start looking for answers and the head coach will get most of that blame. But if we go out and play 100 percent every night, take advantage of every opportunity out in front of us, there’s nothing they can say about it.
So while there’s reason to believe Jackson’s coaching hot seat is at least somewhat steamy, support from Iggy and other guys on the roster could be a trump card in the eyes of management.
Jermaine O'Neal weighed in following the Game 6 victory in the first round over the Los Angeles Clippers with some rather ominous comments (via Sam Amick of USA Today):
"You get the feel that no matter what happens, our coach won't be our coach next year," O'Neal said.
As long as they enjoy playing for him and trust his systems, that’s what matters. Ultimately, though, beating the Clips would be the biggest boost to the coach’s security on the sidelines. Curry and Co. will need to ride a hot start in Staples Center as they did in Game 4 to make that a reality.