OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Mark Jackson came to the Golden State Warriors talking big and brash. He promised playoff appearances and championships, and he delivered plenty of wins along the way.
Away from the court, though, Jackson never backed down from doing things how he wanted. His inability to mesh with management — and management’s inability to mesh with Jackson — increasingly overshadowed his success — and ultimately cost him his job.
The Warriors fired Jackson after three seasons Tuesday, ending the franchise’s most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades but also one filled with drama and distractions.
“Obviously it was not made exclusively on wins and losses,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said.
Lacob and general manager Bob Myers both thanked Jackson, saying he helped make the Warriors a more attractive franchise. But Myers said the decision to dismiss Jackson was “unanimous” among the team’s executives — though still not easy — in part because the Warriors want a coach who can “develop a synergy” with everybody in basketball operations.
Jackson’s time with the Warriors will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner and the bold and bombastic way in which he did it.
He guaranteed Golden State would make the playoffs in his first season, then finished 23-36 after the NBA labor lockout. The Warriors went 47-35 last season and had a memorable run to the second round of the playoffs, and they were 51-31 this season before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
The Warriors, who have surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented nucleus since Lacob’s group bought the franchise in 2010, had not made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1991-92. They had made the postseason once in 17 years before Jackson arrived.
Lacob compared the decision to replace Jackson to his work as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
“There’s a different CEO that may be required to achieve success at different stages of an organization’s development,” Lacob said. “When you’re a startup company it’s one thing, when you’re a small-growth company it’s one thing and when you’re a mature company that’s trying to reach a billion in sales — or in this case win an NBA championship — perhaps that’s a different person. And we just felt overall we needed a different person.”
The Warriors still stuck by Jackson even when he created news off the court, including when reports surfaced in June 2012 that he and his family were the targets of an extortion attempt related to an extramarital affair he had six years prior, which led to questions about his credibility and morals.
Raptors extend Casey
Toronto — Raptors coach Dwane Casey has agreed to a three-year contract extension after Toronto won a franchise-record 48 games this season.
General manager Masai Ujiri says in a statement Tuesday that Casey has “done an excellent job both on and off the court.”
This was Casey’s third season with the team. Toronto won the Atlantic Division for the second time and ended a six-year playoff drought.