By firing Jackson, Lacob thrusts himself into spotlight

By firing Jackson, Lacob thrusts himself into spotlight
May 6, 2014, 1:30 pm
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Mark Jackson was fired by Joe Lacob despite having a 121-109 record in three season, as well as two playoff appearances. (AP)

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OAKLAND – Warriors CEO Joe Lacob on Tuesday morning made the riskiest of several risky moves in dismissing coach Mark Jackson, who had been successful by any reasonable measure, wildly so by Warriors standards.

The focus now is split between the home team bench at Oracle Arena and the seats across the court, where Lacob plants himself during games.

For this move establishes Lacob as among those team owners who are willing to put themselves – and their decisions – directly under the spotlight.

[RELATED: Five factors in decision to fire Mark Jackson]

Which is fine only if Lacob's next coaching hire can win the news conference and the locker room and most of the games – as well as Lacob's heart and faith.

Jackson, after all, succeeded in the first three but failed to accomplish the fourth.

But when the winning the heart and faith of the boss becomes a greater factor than winning on the court, keeping the coaching job becomes much more complex.

In a profession where everyone supposedly is evaluated on merit, the next Warriors coach will take the job knowing he'll also be evaluated somewhat on merit but also on how skillfully he navigates the executive corridors.

He also must impress a boss who has strong feelings and opinions about basketball strategy.

Jackson did not do so well at that, which surely bothered Lacob. That Jackson barely tried left Lacob stewing.

Which led to the decision to show Jackson the door, which Jackson was not unwilling to walk through.

[NEWS: Warriors fire head coach Mark Jackson after three seasons]

Assembling a group of wealthy business executives to buy the Warriors was not much of a risk for Lacob. The NBA is a profitable business. Lacob and his heirs will be financially rewarded for the investment.

When Lacob unveiled plans to move the team from Oakland to San Francisco, now that was risky. And, eventually, he concluded the risk was too high and the financial reward too, well, invisible.

Lacob took another risk exactly 35 months ago when he hired Jackson as his first head coach. Jackson was a big name in NBA circles. He was a successful player for 17 seasons and had made the transition to popular TV analyst.

Jackson's position was not unlike that of Steve Kerr, a strong candidate to replace Jackson.

The move worked spectacularly, from a basketball perspective, as the reinvented Warriors returned from the outskirts of the NBA to a Main Street intersection.

That Lacob sent Jackson on his way, anyway, says basketball progression was not enough. That something more is needed for job security as Warriors head coach.

When Jackson was hired, he vowed that "things be changing" in the Bay Area. He could not have known just how much.

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