Mark Jackson is a candidate for the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers' open head coaching jobs, but long-time NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote that the ESPN NBA broadcast commentator has a "much stronger" chance at landing the Kings gig (h/t HoopsHype):
"Mark Jackson was indeed a Klutch client in the past and, sources say, maintains a strong relationship with Klutch CEO Rich Paul, whose foremost client, of course, is the Lakers' LeBron James. There is undeniably a level of support within the Klutch camp for Jackson's candidacy with the Lakers, but Jackson's chances of finally getting another NBA coaching shot after an eight-year wait are much stronger with Sacramento."
Jackson, a former St. John's star, played in the NBA from 1987-88 to 2003-04. He won the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award and was named an All-Star in 1989.
The Golden State Warriors hired Jackson as their head coach in 2011. The Dubs went 23-43 in his first season but immediately improved to 47-35 the following year. Golden State then went 51-31 in 2013-14, but Jackson was fired at the end of the season.
Team governor Joe Lacob told reporters at the time that the Warriors felt they needed a different person to run the team and lead them to a championship.
Golden State ended up hiring Steve Kerr, who led the Warriors to five straight Western Conference titles in addition to three NBA championships.
Still, Jackson did a tremendous job turning around a Warriors team that posted three straight losing seasons before his arrival. Now he may be getting a chance at coaching again after eight years away from the sidelines.
Per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee, Jackson, Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown and Brooklyn Nets coaching consultant Steve Clifford are the three finalists to coach the Kings.
As Anderson noted, the Lakers have spoken with Jackson, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin and Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham.
Jackson, who worked for ESPN and ABC as well as YES Network in between his retirement and Warriors' coaching stint, has been calling games for the past eight years. Signs appear to point toward a coaching return, with the Kings in the lead, but that job would not be easy.
The Kings haven't won a playoff series since Jackson's last year in the NBA (2003-04). They haven't made the playoffs since 2006.
Sacramento has a talented duo leading the way in De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, but the Kings are a poor defensive team (29th in points allowed) that also shot 34.4 percent from three-point range (24th).
The Kings do have a lottery pick going their way in 2022, but they will need some help to get in the top four.
At the very least, Jackson could fix the team's defensive problems. The Warriors were 26th in defensive rating the year prior to his arrival, per Basketball Reference, but they finished fourth in his final season there.
Ultimately, Jackson does have a track record of success, and bringing him in would be a good choice for Sacramento as it tries to end the NBA's longest streak outside the playoffs.