Despite strong support from his best player, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s job appears to be in grave danger this offseason. According to the latest report, Warriors management is considering Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr as potential replacements for Jackson. Per ESPN:
It’s a truly bizarre situation, given the deep-rooted support Jackson continues to get from his players, most notably Steph Curry. After weeks of publicly backing him, Curry said it with even more force after the Warriors’ elimination Saturday night, telling the world that he wants “Coach Jackson to be that guy leading us” next season.
Comparisons have been drawn between Jackson and Lionel Hollins, who was let go in Memphis after last season’s trip to the conference finals largely because the Grizzlies’ new owners wanted to work with a more collaborative coach. Hollins, though, was by no means revered by his players in the same manner as Jackson. Grizzlies players didn’t speak for Hollins like they did for Jackson.
Yet the whispers persist, and grow louder by the day, that (owner Joe Lacob) prefers a new (and possibly more experienced) voice in charge, someone who meshes better with the front office personality-wise. NBA coaching sources insist that this strays far beyond mere fallout from the respective flare-ups that led to the departures of assistant coaches Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman. The gulf between management and coach, by all accounts, is wide.
“You get the feel that, no matter what happens, our coach won’t be our coach next year,” Jermaine O’Neal told USA Today’s Sam Amick after the Warriors’ Game 6 win over the Clippers. “You just get that feel.”
Two coaching names known to interest Golden State greatly, sources say, are Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy. I find it equally tough to picture Kerr turning Phil Jackson down now, as far as Kerr’s dalliance with the Knicks has gone, so look for the Warriors to explore the SVG option hard if (when?) Jackson’s reign is brought to an end.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported recently that the Warriors would likewise court Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg if (when?) they have an opening. In either case, chances are some determined lobbying would have to be done, since Hoiberg has made no secret of his intent to stay with the Cyclones, while Van Gundy would have to be pulled away from the satisfying combination of broadcasting work and focusing on family life.