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Jermaine O’Neal calls talk of firing Warriors head coach Mark Jackson ‘ridiculous’

Mar 30, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

Jermaine O’Neal is in his 18th NBA season, and when he hasn’t been busy confronting opponents outside the locker room following games or causing lane violations with the hitch in his free throw stroke, he’s been a pretty decent contributor for the Warriors off the bench this season.

He’s also a big fan of Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, who’s come under fire this season both for his Xs and Os, as well as his latest reassignment of an assistant coach.

O’Neal was upset by the most recent round of criticism, and voiced his support for Jackson while saying he’s the main reason that O’Neal would be willing to come back and play for the Warriors next season.

From Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News:

Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair” before offering a vote of confidence unique to his own NBA career. …

“But the No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.” …

“To me, it’s one of the most unfair things that I’ve seen in a long time,” O’Neal said. “And it truly is a team that’s 18 games over .500. Eighteen. And we’re talking about firing a coach with 10, 11 games left?”

Jackson was widely believed to be the motivator and emotional leader of last year’s team that made it to the second round of the playoffs, but his assistant Mike Malone got most of the credit for the schemes put in from a pure basketball perspective.

Malone is now the coach of the Kings, and things apparently didn’t end well between him and Jackson.

We saw Lionel Hollins and George Karl both lose their positions at the end of last season after guiding their respective teams to more than 56 regular season wins. The same may very well happen to Jackson if the Warriors have a disappointing postseason effort or fail to make the playoffs altogether, and O’Neal’s support, while nice, wouldn’t be nearly enough to save him.

  1. miamiheatles - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    I guess the NBA really is a player’s league.

  2. hurricanegrabowski - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    You mess with the White Mamba, you get bit.

  3. campcouch - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Jackson’s been the coach for less than three years. Didn’t they stink before that? Yeah,I know, Curry and Thompson are there now,but somebody must be coaching those guys up for them to be so good. They cited Hollins and Karl but as we see,Denver regressed and Memphis hasn’t improved any more under their new coach. I guess the GS front office shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.

  4. stayhigh_247 - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Ownership needs to be realistic, as good as the Warriors are nobody believes they are gonna win a chip anytime soon. Firing a young coach who has proven his worth as a motivator is just plain dumb. I’m a White Mamba fan all day but why would the front office undermine the head coach by keeping him around? This Mike Malone thing must have been bad and must be playing into their thinking. The question to ask is what does Steph think? Sometimes the front office needs to mind their business and focus on bringing in talent, payroll, and bobble head night. Memphis is a prime example, coach Hollins should still be there without a doubt, now they look weaker. Maybe GS is thinking about hiring Coach Karl, because of all the proven available coaches his style suits them most, but then Iggy wouldn’t like that too much I’m sure.

  5. csbanter - Mar 31, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Signing Igoudola was a mistake. Harrison Barnes hasn’t been the same. As for Jackson the Warriors are getting their expected return. Action Jackson was never a head coach, instead he was a motivator as a player. Firing him to get George Karl would not be devastating.

  6. imakcds - Mar 31, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    do you all think Phil Jackson’s forte is X’s and O’s????
    If you do, you’re dead wrong.
    Mark Jackson is a good coach.

  7. dzsf12 - Apr 1, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Jackson is not an X’s and Os guy, its obvious, but you cant fire him, thats insane. He has some work to do because the team has some gaps and he has not done a good job with Barnes and really struggled to find a rotation which was the Warriors biggest problem. Now he has a better roster with the trades they made.

    Letting JJ go was a huge mistake, the money they are paying Blake and Crawford, they could of had a better version of both in one player with J.Jack and not have lost young players they did in the trades.

    The WARRIORS have not extended Jackson tho !!!

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