Jackson made a show of firing Scalabrine in front of players and other coaches, but he had no real grounds, and the front office made Jackson find a compromise, per a source familiar with the matter: demoting Scalabrine to the D-League. In addition, Jackson has asked that Jerry West, a high-level adviser in Golden State, not attend most practices and team activities, sources say.
The tension with (assistant coach Darren) Erman got weird. Midseason, the team moved Erman's parking spot to a less convenient place, likely at the behest of Jackson or one of Jackson's allies on the staff, per multiple sources familiar with the matter. They began changing his duties in strange ways.
The atmosphere has bordered on poisonous, though to the credit of Jackson, his staff, and his players, it has not spilled onto the court. The team plays hard, they're very good, and they have a chance to make noise in the playoffs despite the ill-timed injury to Andrew Bogut. The players have almost universally spoken up, and quite loudly, in Jackson's defense.
"That's a lie," Jackson told USA TODAY Sports after the Clippers' 113-103 Game 5 win Tuesday. "Come on. That's a lie. That's disrespectful."
When asked directly if West — who joined the team when the group led by Joe Lacob took over ownership in the summer of 2010 — was welcome at his practices, Jackson said, "Absolutely. He has been at the practices. He's there. That's a flat-out lie."
A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that West has been at recent practices. That is in accordance with the initial report, as it was not indicated that West was absent from all of the team's sessions or activities. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Still, the sheer number of proverbial fires that Jackson finds himself trying to put out doesn't bode well for his coaching fate. While he was adamant that he had not made any such request regarding West, the wide and strong belief within the organization is that Jackson would prefer not to have the legendary figure overseeing his operation from a close distance.
West being at the practices and Jackson wanting him there are two different matters. At the same time, he's the coach and if he wants to exert his authority over practice, that's not an unreasonable desire in a vacuum. But we're not in a vacuum, even if Jackson thinks this situation sucks.
There's a pattern emerging here, and whether it's the result of Jackson's approach, or the pressure from front office sources altering his behavior, this doesn't seem headed for a happy ending.
The Warriors lost Game 5 to the Clippers Tuesday.