Top candidates to replace Mark Jackson as Golden St. Coach


Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson has been fired as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, in a statement released Tuesday, thanked Mark Jackson for turning the franchise around, but did not give any reason for the dismissal (outside of the usual, generic ‘going in a different direction’ story).

Mark Jackson was very successful in his three years at the helm, improving the team’s record from 23-43 in his first season to 47-35 in his second and 51-31 this season. The Warriors had only made the playoffs once in 17 years before hiring the long-time NBA point guard, and before this season the Warriors had not made consecutive playoff appearances since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.

The firing of Mark Jackson is really no surprise, as the team refused to sign him to a long-term contract last summer, instead picking up their 2014-15 option on his contract. And while Mark Jackson was for the most part liked and well-respected by his players, it was well known that he was not particularly popular with ownership and the Warriors’ front office.

Golden State Warriors new logo

Mark Jackson also did not exactly endear himself to his coaching staff- Brian Scalabrine, who Mark Jackson had just hired last summer, was reassigned to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate on March 25 because of “philosophical differences”. And on April 5, the Warriors fired Darren Erman because he allegedly recorded conversations that took place during coaches’ meetings. Erman also is said to have secretly recorded discussions between Warriors coaches and players.

George Karl

George Karl, Steve Kerr, Jeff Van Gundy, and Fred Hoiberg are among the candidates the Warriors are expected to pursue as Mark Jackson’s replacement.

If Karl is interested in getting back into coaching, he seems to be the only logical fit on this list. After all, he was named NBA Coach of the Year only a month before he was inexplicably fired by the Nuggets- a team he had just finished leading to a franchise-record 57 wins.

Even though Kerr has a strong relationship with Warriors owner Joe Lacob and team president Rick Welts- who worked with Kerr in Phoenix- he is expected to take the Knicks job instead. Knicks president Phil Jackson has made it clear over the past few weeks that Kerr is the man he wants, and Kerr’s relationship with Jackson goes back some 20 years.

According to multiple media outlets, including the New York Daily News and ESPN, the Warriors have already reached out to Kerr about the position, and Kerr certainly has nothing to lose by at least speaking to the team about replacing Mark Jackson.

Hoiberg is seemingly very happy coaching college kids at his alma mater (Iowa State), and most insiders around the NBA expect he will stay put in Ames. Van Gundy hasn’t coached since leaving the Rockets after the 2006-07 season, and he seems to be very content working for ESPN/ABC, where he is widely regarded as the best color analyst in the business.

Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running and writing for The Sports Bank and ChicagoNow (Bullsville), he is also a KHSAA baseball umpire. He’s a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.


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