Jackson met Tuesday morning with management, and both the San Jose Mercury News and Yahoo! Sports reported he would be let go. The team later made it official.
Jackson spent three seasons with the Warriors, his first coaching job of any kind after a successful run as an analyst for ABC/ESPN. Golden State made the playoffs each of the last two seasons under Jackson, its first consecutive postseason trips since 1991-92.
Jackson had the support of his players, particularly All-Star guard Stephen Curry, who wondered why his coach’s job security was even in question.
But Jackson dismissed assistant Brian Scalabrine after a long standoff during which the two did not speak to each other for a month. He also was rumored to be disliked by several members of management, which probably was the clincher.
There also was the bizarre in-season firing of assistant Darrin Erman, who reportedly was secretly recording conversations among players and coaches, including Jackson.
“It’s never easy to make a decision of this nature,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said in a statement. “Mark has accomplished many good things during his three years with the organization, including his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago. We’re appreciative of his dedication and commitment since his arrival and are extremely grateful for his contributions. However, as an organization, we simply feel it’s best to move in a different direction at this time.”
“Mark Jackson has had a big impact on the improvement of our team and the success that we’ve had over the last couple of years,” Warriors owner & CEO Joe Lacob said in a statement. “Nonetheless, we must make some difficult decisions in our day-to-day operations of the club and this would certainly qualify as one of those examples. We wish Mark the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions over the last three years.”
Last year, the Warriors reached the Western Conference semifinals, pushing San Antonio to six games after upsetting Denver. This season, the Warriors went 51-31 but lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
Led by Curry, the Warriors have a deep roster that includes former All-Stars David Lee and Andre Iguodala, budding star shoot guard Klay Thompson and defensive-minded center Andew Bogut. Second-year forwards Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes are the top reserves.
Golden State does have a high payroll and owes two of its next four first-round picks to Utah.
There has been speculation that former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is a possible candidate. So is TNT analyst Steve Kerr, who has no coaching experience and also has been strongly rumored as Phil Jackson’s choice to guide the New York Knicks.
As for Jackson, he could be a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers’ vacancy.