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Warriors owner explains rationale for dismissing Jackson

OAKLAND – Hours after meeting with Mark Jackson and dismissing the coach he hired 35 months ago, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob sat in his corner office explaining why the franchise would fire its most successful coach over the past two decades.

Proficiency, Lacob conceded, was not the primary factor behind his decision.

“The decision to not bring Mark back is not willy-nilly; there are reasons,” Lacob said Tuesday. “It’s less based on performance, that is win-loss record, and perhaps slightly more based on overall philosophy.”

The Warriors finished the regular season 51-31, their best record since 1991-92. They were coming off consecutive postseason appearances for the first time ’92. Their season ended with a Game 7 playoff to the Clippers on Saturday in Los Angeles.

When I asked Lacob if the team’s record was unsatisfactory, he said that was not the case.

“I would not say it’s unsatisfactory,” Lacob said. “I would say that it did not meet our goals.”

Lacob described the team’s primary goals as being among the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Warriors, for the second year in a row, finished sixth.

RELATED: Seven names to watch in Golden State coaching search

“We did improve the team, on paper, and we thought that was a reasonable expectation,” he said, referring mostly to the addition of forward Andre Iguodala. “We did not achieve that. We had a good year, but just didn’t excel at the level we had hoped to.”

There were contributing factors, including injuries, which Lacob acknowledged. Starting center Andrew Bogut lost 15 games due to injuries and a suspension and was not available in the postseason. Backup center Jermaine O’Neal missed 38 games with injuries. Another backup center, Festus Ezeli, missed all 82 games after undergoing knee surgery. Iguodala missed 19 games with a hamstring injury and knee tendinitis. Power forward David Lee missed 13 games.

Lacob said the reasons behind Jackson’s termination were broader than the record or even the strategy he employed. He said Jackson’s relationship with the organization was less than “ideal.”

Put another way, Lacob indicated Jackson’s coaching career would be better served if he cultivated relationships beyond those involving his players and staff.

Read more on the Warriors from CSN Bay Area by clicking here.

Indeed, Lacob insisted he did not believe Jackson, in his third season as a coach, was tactically inferior to Clippers coach Doc Rivers, a veteran of 15 seasons on the bench.

Yet the Warriors brain trust – with Lacob and general manager Bob Myers at the top – unanimously decided they would be better off with another head coach.

“There is an element of that probably weighs on my thinking, certainly, and maybe on Bob’s, that there is the right coach for the right time and the right situation,” Lacob said. “And it’s our feeling at this point in time, that he’s probably not the right coach for us, going forward, given all of the circumstances.”

  1. steelers33 - May 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    This guys an idiot, why would anything else matter besides the relationship between the head coach and his team. That is what a coach is supposed to do; management is supposed to just put the pieces together and sit back and see how it plays out.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      You people just aren’t living in the real world. If you work for a Fortune 500 company, and constantly clash with the board and CEO, YOU’RE GONE. This is the exact same thing.

      • 00millerfortune - May 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        This is mad different…this is sports. But also in the real world, if you keep gaining positive results and keep ascending each year you’d be foolish as a CEO to can what’s been working for the company as a whole. It shouldn’t be personal, it should be about business. These fools made it personal.

      • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        It’s BIG BUSINESS. The sports piece is just what sells their product: jerseys, tickets, and TV rights.

      • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        They also weren’t moving forward. If you’re clashing with the CEO and board, you’d better not produce less this year than last. They went out one round earlier.

      • redbaronx - May 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        @spursareold – While you are correct, I think if you take Lacob at his word, the reason they fired him was that Jackson didn’t meet their goals (et al 4th place / 2nd round in playoffs).

        Frankly, for a franchise that hasn’t been there in years and considering the injuries they sustained, what Jackson did this year is nothing short of a coaching miracle.

        As far as the personal interaction is concerned, yes you’re absolutely correct. If you clash with management you’ll be gone in most cases. However, like Steelers said, the role on an NBA team for upper management is to put the pieces in place, not coach the team. Denver had a similar scenario last year when they got in the way of the coach and wanted to have JaVale play more, and the coach (rightfully so) didn’t want a knucklehead on the floor no matter how much management paid to get him. (I might add, look where Denver is now…)

        So, sometimes in companies employees can’t help but clash with management. Management brings the fight down to the employee level where the employee can’t help but clash with management. And that’s simply bad management. To Steelers33 point, this reeks of bad management.

    • antistratfordian - May 7, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      Wait – does Lacob own the team or not? He does. Okay, so then what actually matters is whatever he thinks matters.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - May 8, 2014 at 7:15 AM

        Donald Sterling Owned a team as well…just because youre the owner doesnt mean your decision is right lol

      • sonnysuave - May 8, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Terrible opinion, anti. Case in point, James Dolan (knicks owner).

      • antistratfordian - May 8, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        My opinion is fine. If the owner doesn’t feel like he has the right coach – and he doesn’t feel like they work together well enough – then you can’t really argue with that. It’s his prerogative. Whether any of us agree or disagree with it is irrelevant.

  2. duhwighthoward - May 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    I kept saying there was no way they’d fire him and I admit, I was wrong.

    They fired him because when Jason Collins came out of the closet, Mark Jackson said his religion isn’t down with fudge-pushers. The owner’s son is a queer.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Kind of ironic that Jackson would even take a job in the Bay Area, then, isn’t it? Lacob probably just wanted to spare him the move into SF.

    • kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      And I thought billbitely53 was an ignorant , homophobe. Dude, you take the cake.

    • 1heatedtoombrayduh - May 8, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      Fudge pushers? He doesnt like people that work for Mars candy company? thats messed up lol

  3. readysethike - May 7, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    “Lacob indicated Jackson’s coaching career would be better served if he cultivated relationships beyond those involving his players and staff”

    that philosophy doesn’t seem to hurt Bill Belichicks coaching career.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Belichick has NEVER clashed with either his GM or Kraft. Their organization is all on the same page. GS’s isn’t.

      • jattsoorma - May 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        belichick is basically the GM and the owner stays out of his way and lets him do his thing. granted he earned that but he would not be put in a place to clash with upper management because he IS upper management.

    • anotheryx - May 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      BB actually have good relationship with ownership, and have good relationship with all sorts of people involved in football, both college and pro. He does not have a good relationship with press though.

  4. 00millerfortune - May 7, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Warriors fans gonna have it hard for a loooong time with that way of thinking from ownership.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      You act like there is NO ONE ELSE that can come in and coach this team to 51 wins. Karl (hypothetically with no Iggy baggage) could. SVG could. Hell, given this roster, Woodson probably could.

      • 00millerfortune - May 7, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        You’re right SVG could. And SVG can also not be the “buddy pal chum” that ownership is looking for and can him too after a 60 win season.

      • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        I don’t remember SVG having any problems with ownership at MIA or ORL. His major problem was that Dwight was a big baby, and Orlando was still thinking they could appease him and keep him.

    • qckappa - May 8, 2014 at 3:52 AM

      SVG is not that good of a coach. He overachieved with Orlando and that’s why he is not coaching now in my opinion. GS Ownership missed the boat on this one, big time. They may not make the playoffs next year. The Lakeshow will be back and watch out for Phoenix. Go Lakers!

  5. Dogsweat - May 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    ***From**** Typo

  6. dreamer5873 - May 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Spursareold- don’t kid yourself. This GS team is not that good even with CURRY. Jackson had these guys believing in themselves. If you ask me, with all the injuries and BS from the front office this group overachieved.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      Their core starting 5 had the best Ortg/Drtg differntial of any starters in the league. I think that’s a bit more than “believing in yourself”.

      • sportsfan18 - May 7, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Bingo! We have a winner here…

        You nailed it spursareold…

        Seeing that the Warriors starters had the BEST differential of ANY team in the league with their starters…

        They UNDERACHIEVED in only having the 8th best record in the league this year (6th in just the west)…

  7. bballhistorian - May 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Phil Jackson never got along with management while with the Bulls…….

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:24 PM


    • antistratfordian - May 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Jackson had a few issues with Krause, but he still respected and appreciated him – so it never got in the way of them working together and getting the job done.

      Jackson has always said that he was grateful to Krause for believing in him and promoting him, and that he actually admired the way he constructed his teams (very thorough).

      • bballhistorian - May 7, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        and you didn’t think Mark Jackson was appreciative of the ownership and his boss? Their issue was “difference of philosophies”

      • antistratfordian - May 7, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        They obviously didn’t work well enough together for that relationship to last.

  8. sire2334 - May 7, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    There’s a code to this thing and I can’t quite put my finger on it. “Jackson’s coaching career would be better served if he cultivated relationships beyond those involving his players and staff.” Wth does this mean? Just do your damn job and keep it moving.

    • anotheryx - May 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      He doesn’t even get along with his own staff… that’s kinda hard to do as he is their boss and all.

      • jollyjoker2 - May 7, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        So what? If your coaching staff isn’t listening …Kick them to the curb. Its called being a boss. These guys have millions riding on the line and your hiring people to Listen, not wander off the reservation. The owner who doesn’t play basketball, thinks he can coach a team which by his history – shows that he cannot.

  9. kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    This is very similar to what happened in Detroit a few years ago. Rick Carlisle is a great coach now and he was back when he was the Pistons coach. He led the team to back to back 50 win seasons. However, other than the players, he clashed with just about everybody. The late owner Bill Davidson wanted him out and he was gone.

    • redbaronx - May 7, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      @kb2408 – To your point, that also doesn’t mean Rick (or other coaches) deserve to be fired. Sometimes management is it’s own worst enemy.

      Look at it this way, do you think that Detroit would like to have Rick Carlisle as their coach right now? Of course they would! Detroit had management issues which are reflected in their handling of the roster in recent years. Denver management wanted George Karl to play JaVale McGee, despite the fact that JaVale is a disaster on court. Look where Denver is now. Out of the playoffs (if memory serves, for the first time since Karl was hired)

      Really good organizations like the Spurs put a good guy in place (Buford) and let him run the team. The Spurs owner goes out on a limb to say that he doesn’t interfere in any aspect of running the team. That’s also why they’re so successful. Pat Riley in Miami. Kupchak in LA (when Dr. Buss was in charge. Now that Junior is on board, ownership meddles….) Owners are best when they get the hell out of the way of their basketball guys, and let them succeed or fail.

  10. calkinsrob - May 7, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Guys.. He demoted Scalabrine. when you demote the white mamba dont expect to keep your job lol. Scalabrine head coach 2014-2015!

  11. dreamer5873 - May 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Ortg/drtg. Lol give me a break. My point exactly, they overachieved. That stat means what? You could probably name 8 teams that are better or as good as that group of Warriors.

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Offensive rating/ Defensive rating differential per 100 possessions. It’s the bottom f’ing line: how well do you score and how well do you stop the other team from doing that.

      If you’re still looking at box scores for anything but the final score, you’re doing it wrong.

      • antistratfordian - May 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        no, the bottom line is always the final score of your last game. offensive rating/defensive rating is only an indication of how well you played in the past.

      • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        If you’re splitting hairs, the final score of your last game is also in the past.

      • savvybynature - May 7, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        In fairness, you only cited the O.Rtg/D.Rtg differential for their starting 5.
        Your starting 5 can’t play 48 minutes every night, and the Warriors had numerous injuries to that group that kept them from playing that unit throughout much of the season.
        Concluding that they underachieved based on that one stat is a bit simplistic.

  12. joeksnuffy - May 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Everyone was whining about Jackson as a coach tactically. he wouldn’t call timeouts. he did the hockey substitutions. In addition to that, there was turmoil among the coaching staff. Why is everyone now all bent out of shape over this?

    • sportsfan18 - May 7, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      WINNING (see ring count) covers up EVERYTHING else…

      Bowing out in the first round on the other hand… well…

      • joeksnuffy - May 7, 2014 at 8:15 PM

        51 wins and taking a better team to 7 games with a terrible bench is pretty respectable. The owners kind of indicated that it’s not about wins and losses; it’s more about “philosophy”.

      • urodaddy07 - May 8, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        I understand that on the face of it a 1st round exit doesn’t sound impressive, but consider that they played without their starting centre. A guy who was goo offensively and great defensively. As a result the size and skill difference in their front court was huge. I think you’ve gift to factor that in. Also, look at the rest of the Western Coference, these are very good teams, it was difficult for them to overcome the injury to Bogut and a substandard bench and get a better seeding

  13. unxpexted1 - May 7, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    They took a clippers team that has one of the best starting fives in the west or in the league to 7 games, without any low post presence. You can’t tell me there was no coaching involved in that. I think he got the most out of this team. I hope this doesn’t become a case of a owner meddling to much with the bottom operations.

    To the CEO example. What CEO or Owner do you know that comes down to the ground floor of your business? I’ve never seen my CEO, neither has my manager. Mark Jackson is more like a bottom level manager. The Owner should be dealing primarily with executives (GM, VP of Operation etc) which is normally the case in big business.

    When CEO’s start coming to the botton floor and meddling with operations you get a jerry jones, James Dolan situation

    • spursareold - May 7, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      It’s their money. They can meddle if they want.

      • unxpexted1 - May 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        Oh yea you can do what you want. Just might not be smart. Anytime top level management start intertwining themselves with the day to day tactical parts of the operations, it’s not a good thing. Your focus should be on the vision, not on the bottom floor. Just saying if this is how he operates it can be what has become of some other unsuccessful owners in various leagues.

      • qckappa - May 8, 2014 at 3:55 AM

        Just cause you can doesn’t mean that you do!!!

  14. dreamer5873 - May 7, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Spursareold, my point is once again they overachieved. This group won’t win fifty next season. They remind me of an old Denver team that played exciting b-ball but no one took them serious other than their own fans.

  15. brookwell2013 - May 7, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Everyone acknowledges this: Jackson clashed with the owners…….the owners…….the OWNERS……..dude never, ever had a chance to stay there.

  16. tombstone7 - May 7, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    It’s his team and his toy. Mark will be coaching again very soon somewhere and I hope GS lose big time and never make the playoffs again….no reflection of Stephen Curry and the team, but let management play the damn games since they know best!

  17. campcouch - May 7, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    I hope the next coach can win 52 games or he’s done. It’s crazy that he thinks GS would be a top 4 Western team with OKC,LAC,SA,Port,Houston,Memphis,Dallas and even a very game PHX. Even the bad teams put up a fight nightly. Curry gets buckets but there’s just no way the team will move up into the top 4 with five loaded teams and a very good second tier. 5th or 6th is about where they should be.

  18. realfootballfan - May 7, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    He should have just said I didn’t want to keep seeing everyday and cutting checks to someone that I hate. That would have saved us all of this media sanitized garbage.

    • jollyjoker2 - May 7, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      correct. Thing is, he isn’t going to be able to achieve “his goals” next year but I don’t think he will fire the coach because he was called wrong before but now this guy “found his way”…LOL.

  19. jollyjoker2 - May 7, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    what the hel l is philosophy? he didn’t kiss keister. Sounds like these guys want to run it like a bu t kissing corporation. Well, these are pro basketball players – they have OPTIONs unlike the minions working for their corps in minimum wage jobs.

  20. dbfan4ever - May 8, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    This is ridiculous! If Bogut plays in the series against the clippers it is quite possible that they are in the second rd

  21. dbfan4ever - May 8, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    This is ridiculous! If Bogut plays in the series against the clippers it is quite possible that they are in the second rd

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