The Warriors fired coach Mark Jackson on Tuesday, just three days after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Jackson, 49, was hired by the Warriors in 2011 after a 17-year playing career and seven-year broadcasting career. He had one year remaining on his contract.
“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,” Golden State owner 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.”
In three seasons, Jackson compiled a 121-109 record (.526) and twice guided Golden State to the postseason. The Warriors' 2013 first-round victory over the Nuggets marked just the second time the franchise has advanced in the playoffs since 1991. Golden State went 51-31 in 2013-14, its first 50-win season since 1993-94.
Nevertheless, Jackson found himself on the hot seat in recent months after a Yahoo Sports report indicated that there was "dysfunction" on his staff. Jackson reportedly sought a contract extension last summer, a deal that never came to fruition. Then, two of Jackson's assistants were moved off the bench in the weeks before the playoffs amid strange circumstances. The Warriors, who were without center Andrew Bogut during the playoffs because of a rib injury, lost to the Clippers in seven games.
"I don't get caught up in it," Jackson told reporters after his team's Game 7 loss, when asked his uncertain future. "I'm totally confident, and I have total faith that no matter what I'm going to be fine. That even if I'm a full-time pastor, it's going to work out."
Despite the ongoing rumors about Jackson's job security, Warriors players regularly expressed public support for their coach.
"I love Coach more than anybody, and I think for him to be in a situation where his job is under scrutiny and under question is totally unfair," guard Stephen Curry said after Game 7, according to the Bay Area News Group. "And it would definitely be a shock to me if anything like that were to happen. I'm going to voice my support for Coach."
The parting of ways with Jackson completes what has been a strange few months involving the Warriors' coaching staff.
In April, assistant coach Darren Erman was abruptly fired for violating an unspecified team policy. ESPN.com later reported that Erman had been recording conversations with other coaches and players without their knowledge.
Just a few weeks earlier, assistant coach Brian Scalabrine was reassigned by Jackson to the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors.
“I made the decision,” Jackson said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m fortunate enough to have an ownership group and a management group that allows me to pick my staff. We’re just going in a different direction. That’s that. I made a decision and wish him nothing but the very best. … The culture, the environment has no dysfunction at all. That’s comical. It’s a fun time, and we are looking forward to finishing up the season. It’s a time to be smiling and joyful.”