Warriors rocked by another coaching departure

Warriors rocked by another coaching departure
April 5, 2014, 4:00 pm
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This is not the norm. That's OK, because, really, in both situations the right decision was made. Now you move forward.
Mark Jackson

OAKLAND – The general manager, Bob Myers, appeared by turns stunned and crestfallen in the wake of the latest disturbing Warriors developments, another sign of franchise disarray.

The head coach, Mark Jackson, described the news is "unfortunate'' and "tough,'' conceding that such agitation during a drive toward the playoffs is "not the norm.''

[RELATED: Warriors fire assistant coach Darren Erman]

Shooting guard Klay Thompson, as close as any Warrior to Darren Erman, the assistant coach fired on Saturday, concluded some adaptation would be required to compensate for Erman's absence.

"It's definitely going to be an adjustment for the first few days,'' Thompson said after practice Saturday. "I'll miss his presence for a few days; I'll be lying if I said I wasn't going to.

"But it's all part of the business.''

Hirings and firings are daily occurrences in professional sports, but rarely does either happen in the final weeks of a season that has by most measures been successful thus far. The Warriors already have equaled the number of wins from last season and are a virtual lock to make their second consecutive playoff appearance – the first time in 22 years they will have achieved such a feat.

Yet the Warriors season, partially defined by extreme highs and lows, is being somewhat obscured by the stretch-drive upheaval in a coaching staff less than a year removed from experiencing a notable degree of achievement.

The dismissal of Erman, a key strategist under Jackson, became official Saturday morning, though the decision to part ways with the third-year coach was made late Friday night. The official reason is that Erman, 37, committed such serious violation of company policy that similar action by any employee would have resulted in job loss.

Said one Warriors source, without furnishing details, "Sometimes, smart people do dumb things.''

What adds drama and intrigue, though, is that this change comes less than two weeks after another assistant, Brian Scalabrine, was dropped from the staff and reassigned to Santa Cruz of the Development League.

"They are mutually exclusive,'' Myers said, clearly shaken if not downright distraught.

The dismissal of Erman, Myers said, was not a basketball-based decision.

Though Myers drew a clear distinction between the two changes – Scalabrine was demoted by the head coach, while Erman was dismissed on advice of legal counsel – there is no way the GM or anybody else could deny or disguise the volatility within the franchise.

Or, for that matter, calm the fears of fans watching their team wobbling and reeling as it approaches the end of the regular season.

Player and coach would, for what it's worth, like to allay those concerns.

"I don't think it's going to affect us on the court at all,'' Thompson said. "When we get between these lines you really focus. That's the strength of this team.''

Jackson said he is "pulling for'' Erman even though the Warriors made the right decision.

"This is not the norm,'' he said. "That's OK, because, really, in both situations the right decision was made. Now you move forward.''

There is no choice. Six games remain on the schedule. The Warriors currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Odds are good they will remain in that spot and likely face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Myers and Jackson implied that Erman's misdeed took place over a period of time but was discovered and apparently investigated recently. Suspension and reassignment were not options.

Jackson seems to take this latest hit as another barrier to be cleared.

"It's a great time for us as a team and as an organization to still be standing,'' he said. "This isn't new. It's new to you guys; it's not new to us. So to still be standing, still winning and still in our right mind says a lot about this culture.

"A great pastor said you cannot fix the foundation in the middle of a storm. It's too late then. The foundation has been laid and it's going to hold up. There's no question about that.''

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