By the time you read this, Brian Scalabrine is either already in Santa Cruz or driving south on Highway 17. As someone who has traversed that veritable death trap of an incorrectly-banked highway during and after rain showers, here’s hoping his tires are in good shape and inflated properly.
Mark Jackson’s reputation is currently deflating at a more rapid rate than ever after Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest, which went live while the Warriors practiced on Tuesday.
In what’s become an increasingly dysfunctional atmosphere, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson has forced a reassignment of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Ownership and management have been strong advocates of Scalabrine and his performance on the job, sources told Yahoo Sports. Nevertheless, Warriors officials decided that as long as Jackson is the head coach, he’ll have control of his coaching staff.
As Scalabrine prepares to assume an unspecified role with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Jackson was his normal proud and defiant self in the face of questions about the state of his locker room. He took umbrage with Wojnarowski’s usage of the word “dysfunctional” in particular.
“I don’t wonder where it came from,” said Jackson, who quickly changed course after he was asked if that meant he knew exactly who those “league sources” were.
“I don’t want to know where it came from. What’s it going to do? What do you get out of that? I’ve played in this league for 17 years. I’ve announced in this league for, I don’t know, five or six years, and I’ve been coaching for three years.
“I’ve seen dysfunction. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. I’ve been part of teams and organizations that were dysfunctional. I’m awfully proud and I’ll hang my hat on what takes place on a daily basis with this organization. Dysfunction isn’t guys bringing their kids here at 10 o’clock at night and playing three-on-three with the coach. Dysfunction isn’t bringing your nephew and walking around the facility. Bringing mom and dad, and teams hanging around the lounge and eating. I know dysfunction and that could not be further from the truth. If it was true, there’d be more people in the choir singing. You guys are around every single day. That’s entertainment. That’s poor reporting.”
When asked if he might add someone else to the staff to handle Scalabrine’s former responsibilities, Jackson (as usual) trumpeted his team’s accomplishments.
“I got an incredible staff. That can’t be questioned, even though there are times when people attempt to. There’s a reason why we’ve been able to be successful the last, I would say three years. Even though the first year didn’t look like it, there was a foundation that was being laid with this team,” he said.
Jackson does this quite a lot. He never comes out and says, “I did this,” but he also never declines an opportunity to boast on his players in the same way he did with his remaining assistants today. Over the last three seasons, Jackson has repeatedly mentioned the culture change that has taken place on his watch. That’s in reference both to the Warriors playing defense for the first time in ages and those anecdotes about family closeness that Jackson mentioned after today’s practice.
For a while it seemed like that was just Jackson’s nature, being a preacher and all. But at this point it’s fair to question whether it’s also an attempt to boost his own resume — especially considering Wojnarowski’s most explosive paragraphs.
Jackson, in his third year at the helm of the Warriors, has one year left on his contract, but has come under increased scrutiny within the organization for how he has run the team and worked on the job. There have been no conversations about an extension for Jackson – nor are they expected to take place, sources said.
Jackson has tried and failed to get involved with several head coaching openings over the past several months, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets, league sources said.
Jackson knows his days are numbered. He’s checking out other jobs, he’s having trouble getting along with assistants he views as threats (Wojnarowski also reported that Jackson and Michael Malone went weeks without speaking last season). And there’s Joe Lacob in his courtside chair, often seen frowning during home losses while tapping vigorously on his phone. He definitely reads Woj, especially when the subject is his team, and neither Lacob nor Bob Myers are even giving Jackson the dreaded “vote of confidence” today.
Things are so unsteady for Jackson — a coach who’s poised to take a Warriors team to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in 22 years — that it’s hard to imagine he’d survive a first round exit. At this rate, anything short of an appearance in the Western Conference Finals may not be enough.