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Is this really how it ends in Oakland for Mark Jackson? Hoisted on the petard of Brian Scalabrine?
Does this make any sense to you, the faithful outsider? It shouldn’t, because on its face it is so laughable. And yet, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports does not write fiction, is wired well within the league, and has a nearly impeccable track record for accuracy.
Thus, when he writes that Jackson has reassigned Scalabrine and cast about for the Clippers and Nets jobs that were eventually filled by Doc Rivers and Jason Kidd, and is being mentioned rather half-heartedly for the Knicks job that has not yet been vacated by Mike Woodson, ears tend to perk up and eyes tend to widen.
These seem to be fairly clear signs of a restless man at the apparent top of his powers – someone who has a playoff team but isn’t entirely satisfied with his lot in professional life.
Jackson has a year after the current one on his contract, but Wojnarowski reports that no discussions about an extension have taken place, and the truth of coaching in post-millennial America is that a coach who is allowed to enter his walk year almost always walks.
How Scalabrine fits in is, of course, bizarre yet purely Warrior-tastic. Jackson has apparently forced him off the staff the way Kidd muscled Lawrence Frank off his back in November, but the front office is keeping him employed and busy because it values him so much.
In other words, Jackson, who allegedly had issues with Michael Malone before Malone left the Warriors to become the coach of the Sacramento Kings, now has one more person in the front office looking askance at him, which speaks to increased wobble in his job security arc.
That is, if he wants job security.
The Warrior fan base has wasted little time in crushing his work whenever the team loses, most recently when it lost 99-90 Saturday night to San Antonio. Owner Joe Lacob has been a tepid supporter in the past year. And Jackson, a proud man, is also a wary one.
In other words, the Warriors are heading into the postseason (if it can maintain its two-game lead on Memphis and Dallas and 2½-game wedge on Phoenix) at a time when its head coach is both embattled and battling back. In a world where all things are called distractions, this is actually one because it has been created from within – the place where all distraction truly begin.
So we await further developments. The Warriors have three more days until their next game, at home against Memphis. Neither Lacob, general manager Bob Myers nor Jackson have yet spoken, and the silence veritably screams.
But if the Warriors become undone at this moment, it will be an acknowledgement that history, good and bad, is never too far away.