Mark Jackson has been somewhat embattled as Warriors head coach this season, largely due to the team not living up to preseason expectations, but also because of a series of incidents that’s led to his current standing in the organization.
Golden State owner Joe Lacob tried to put an end to the discussion about Jackson’s alleged lack of job security by saying “There is nothing going on until after the season.”
Not exactly a huge vote of confidence, there, especially when the season can end as soon as Saturday if the Warriors should lose their Game 7 matchup with the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Besides. it’s hard to quell that sentiment when a player on the team expresses that the vibe has permeated the locker room, and the feeling is that nothing will be good enough to save Jackson’s job.
From Sam Amick of USA Today:
“You get the feel that no matter what happens, our coach won’t be our coach next year,” Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal said after the win. “You just get that feel. But we are willing to give all we’ve got for this group, for that coach, and hopefully whatever that will and whatever we’ve given is good enough to take us as far as we should go.”
Much like Jackson before him, O’Neal had a lot to say and – with this one crucial win – a little extra time to say it.
“Winning is hard, and hopefully everybody that supports this organization, that runs this organization, understands just how hard it is to win,” he continued. “And if you get a group that’s a good group that loves each other, that fights for each other, and can get a head coach (where) you see (former Warriors point guard and current Cleveland Cavaliers point guard) Jarrett Jack speaking about now from another situation, don’t take that for granted (because) 51 (wins) can go to 31.”
O’Neal’s right — it feels like Jackson is gone, despite the Warriors winning 51 games and, at the very least, pushing a more talented team to a Game 7 in the first round.
If ti happens, the move would be far from unprecedented. Just last season, was saw George Karl win Coach of the Year in Denver before being ousted, and Lionel Hollins took the Grizzlies further than they’d ever been in the playoffs, before the team decided not to bring him back on a new contract.
Short of winning a title, there are too many other factors that can influence whether or not a franchise wants to continue on its path, with its current head coach remaining in place. The vibe around the Warriors, if O’Neal is to be believed, is that Jackson will be looking for work elsewhere at whatever point the season is finished.