The Golden State Warriors were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games. It was a valiant effort from the Warriors, especially without big man Andrew Bogut commanding the paint. The Warriors have enjoyed much success these last two seasons, but somehow Mark Jackson’s job seems to be in jeopardy.
The success on the court is not enough to keep upper management happy according to Marc Stein of ESPN, and the Warriors might already be looking for a replacement:
Two coaching names known to interest Golden State greatly, sources say, are Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy. I find it equally tough to picture Kerr turning Phil Jackson down now, as far as Kerr’s dalliance with the Knicks has gone, so look for the Warriors to explore the SVG option hard if (when?) Jackson’s reign is brought to an end.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reported recently that the Warriors would likewise court Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg if (when?) they have an opening. In either case, chances are some determined lobbying would have to be done, since Hoiberg has made no secret of his intent to stay with the Cyclones, while Van Gundy would have to be pulled away from the satisfying combination of broadcasting work and focusing on family life.
The Warriors still have a head coach, which is why it is surprising that candidates to replace Jackson have begun to emerge. Jackson’s rocky relationship with upper management seems to be driving force behind all these rumors. The Warriors have not had a lot of success historically and Jackson has accomplished more in the last two seasons than a lot who have come before him.
Steve Kerr, Stan Van Gundy, and Fred Hoiberg have been tabbed as candidates for a job that technically does not exist, at least not yet. Kerr has been linked to the Knicks and Lakers, but the Knicks are the likely favorites because of his relationship with Phil Jackson. Kerr lives in San Diego, so the Lakers could also be very appealing. Van Gundy is not linked to any other jobs and there is no report showing any mutual interest as of now. Fred Hoiberg is focused on the Iowa State Cyclones, but if Jackson is indeed fired, the Warriors will definitely attempt to contact him.
Steph Curry has advocated publicly for Jackson to stay, but it does not seem to be making any difference. The players love to play for Jackson and his departure could upset the dynamic of the team. The Warriors must not let a bad relationship deter a team that is on the rise and should be a staple in the Western Conference for years to come.