HoopsHype Mark Jackson rumors

May 16, 2014 Updates

The Knicks coaching search is expanding beyond geometry. Phil Jackson, according to an NBA source, is OK hiring a head coach who doesn’t specialize in the triangle. According to the source, that means Mark Jackson is on Jackson’s tentative list that once included just one name. But now Steve Kerr is headed to Golden State and Jackson is headed on a more expansive search. New York Post

Since the Golden State Warriors announced Tuesday that Steve Kerr had been hired as their new head coach, replacing Mark Jackson, there has yet to be a welcoming tweet, interview or anything else seen or heard from one of the players. That, one of them said, is not by accident. "That is out of loyalty to Coach Jackson," said the player, who requested anonymity. "It has nothing to do with Steve. Just meeting him when he worked our games, he seems like a nice guy. It has to do more with how Coach was done. Guys loved Coach Jackson. They'd run through a wall for him. It hasn't really set in that he's gone and someone else has been hired." Bleacher Report

The players' pointed silence is about Jackson, despite their pleas that he be retained, getting axed less than 72 hours after their season ended with a first-round Game 7 loss on the road to the Los Angeles Clippers. It's about Jackson, as a first-time coach, having to settle for a four-year, $8 million deal, while Kerr, a first-time coach, signed a five-year, $25 million package, totally guaranteed. It's about the vast majority of the players and staff sharing Jackson's Christian faith and attending services to hear him preach at his non-denominational church, while knowing that Kerr developed a similar bond with team owner Joe Lacob over two decades of shared golf and venture capital interests. Bleacher Report

"There aren't any idiots in that locker room," the player said. "We have solid guys, great guys. I'm not saying he won't be able to win the team over. But that will be his biggest challenge. Can he take us to a place Coach Jackson couldn't? We were one basket away from going back to the semifinals a second year in a row. That means Steve has to get us to the conference finals or the finals. Guys are going to be very conscious of that. If you've known him for 20 years, why wasn't he on your list before this? Did he not want the job then? Coach Jackson changed the culture and this is how you do him? If this is your loyalty to Coach, what's your loyalty to me? I know it raised questions with all of us." Bleacher Report

May 15, 2014 Updates

As a guy who had a similar path that he’s taking now, from the broadcast booth to the Warriors job without coaching experience, do you understand what he’s going through? Feel any of that? -JACKSON: From my end to his? For me, he’s not just broadcaster going straight into coaching. I played against him, know him, respect him. A first-class guy. And so it’s not because he has no experience and he’s gotten the job and he fits that mold of coming straight from the booth. Just a guy I have respect or and wish him nothing but the best. People say why didn’t I Tweet congratulations yesterday, because I tweeted congratulations to Stan Van Gundy. So why not Tweet congratulations to Steve Kerr? And the only reason for that is it could be read different. So I texted him congratulations. I’ve got respect for him. It’s nothing negative or any feelings that way. I’ve got respect for him and wish him the best. San Jose Mercury-News

May 13, 2014 Updates

Jackson waited a long time after he retired as a player before becoming a head coach. He had to wait, in part, because he was adamant that he wouldn't start his coaching career as an assistant, like almost all ex-players of all races have to do as they break into the ranks. When you asked him about it during his ABC/ESPN days, he would always have some variation on the sentence, "Danny Ainge didn't have to be an assistant." The inference was clear: Ainge got the Suns' head coaching job two years after he retired as a player, having never before been a coach at any level. If he was good enough to step right in as a head coach, Mark Jackson certainly felt he was good enough to do the same. NBA.com

Jackson is, also, a born-again Christian. And this may be the touchiest part of all. It is impossible to talk about religion without someone being greatly offended. I don't think the Warriors are anti-Christian. I do think, because I've spoken with many Evangelical Christians, that they feel their views are often distorted and maligned by those who are not Evangelical Christians. In this context, Jackson's less than complete embrace of Jason Collins after Collins disclosed he was gay last year may have been taken badly within the organization -- which has, for a long time, been among the best in the league at embracing gay causes and events. NBA.com

May 12, 2014 Updates
May 9, 2014 Updates
May 8, 2014 Updates

I can’t speak for Mark Jackson on this level, but I’m psychoanalyzing based on 36 years of being black and around black men, it stings on a different level when people question your intelligence. I always got the sense that bothered Mark Jackson the most. Hearing that Xs and Os talk was like Marty McFly being called chicken. Jackson is a smart guy. Even if I disagreed with it, he always had a reason and a good explanation. And he liked to debate. For anyone who approached him as if he was smart but you disagreed with his choice, he would engage. San Jose Mercury-News

The narrative (my guy Tim Kawakami hates that word) was never that Jackson’s offensive system wasn’t the most effective. It wasn’t that he had a system but it didn’t quite fit his players. It was that he didn’t have one, he couldn’t coach, he was a motivator. Even though the Warriors offense was mediocre when Malone was with the Warriors, he was considered the brains of the operation. Tom Thibodeau for years has had a great defense and a suspect offense. He’s renown as a great coach. Mark Jackson crafted a great defense, with not great defensive players, and all he hears is he’s just a motivator. San Jose Mercury-News

Jackson has that same set up. Asking him to move midstream is not like asking a UPS worker to transfer. It’s not as simple as you can preach up here. Lacob is asking him to give up his church. He is telling him to relocate his family to the Bay Area, meaning the lifeblood of that church, Jackson and his wife, are gone. That’s not a matter-of-fact thing. San Jose Mercury-News

Lacob, however, doesn’t strike me as the type who feels the need to acquiesce to the people who work for him. They need to learn how to deal with him. And that’s fine. But that’s not how the great owners in this league have worked. Lacob can stand to benefit from considering these elements when he hires. He would be very wise to consider it as it regards to Stephen Curry. One thing his star player appreciated was the lack of negativity in their locker room. No crazy, vile rap music, scarce profanity aimed his way, freedom to pray and talk about stuff that matters to him without being the outsider. San Jose Mercury-News

That’s what we’re talking about here. A society within the society. Jackson, despite playing 17 years, is an outsider in this society. His name got him a shot, his mouth got him the job. But if you talk to just about any black coach privately, they’ll tell you Jackson was fired because he has a shorter leash. He doesn’t have those relationships in that circle, those familial and historic connections to that society. And when he had the chance to cultivate them, he didn’t. If you believe the reports coming out about him, he did the opposite of cultivating. Nor does he have a championship under his belt. So he didn’t get the leeway. San Jose Mercury-News

Last off-season, when Mike Malone took the Kings’ head coaching job, Lacob and Myers approached Jackson about getting another experienced assistant to serve as his chief deputy. Jackson fought hard to promote from within (Pete Myers). The new assistant added to replace Malone — Brian Scalabrine — was at the end of the coaching bench. This decision set the tone, more than any personal squabble over where Jackson would live or where an assistant would park, for how his season would be evaluated. San Jose Mercury-News

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