In response to yesterday's news about the circumstances surrounding Darren Erman's dismissal from the Golden State Warriors, Grantland's Zach Lowe painted a rather bleak picture for head coach Mark Jackson's future in an article focused on the controversy surrounding both the Warriors and L.A. Clippers.
The consensus around the league is that Jackson is very unlikely to return next season, barring a longer-than-expected playoff run from the Warriors. That is always subject to change, and the team has not made a final decision yet. They have not reached out directly to any potential replacements, per sources around the league. Jackson can still save his job, but the smart money is on Golden State having a new coach next season.
The Warriors, in the event they move on from Jackson, would consider big names beyond Rivers, which is why the Knicks tried this week to accelerate their hiring timetable with Steve Kerr, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein. New York knows that two or three other appealing jobs might come open after postseason eliminations, and that Kerr would be a candidate for some of them. Also, it doesn't help the Knicks that Kerr has family connections up and down California.
Adam Johnson of Sea Dubs Central followed that report up during last night's game, reporting that Jackson will need to guide the Warriors to the Western Conference Finals in order to keep his job.
Unfortunately for Jackson and the players who support him, he has an uphill battle to reach that goal.
Thus far in this first round series, the Clippers have simply proven to be the better team - granted the Warriors are without center Andrew Bogut, but they just can't seem to get out of their own way with careless turnovers and mental mistakes defensively. If they do make it out of this round - which would be a triumph unto itself - they'll face either Oklahoma City or Memphis, with the Grizzlies being up 3-2 in that series right now. The Warriors were 2-1 against the Grizzlies this season when Marc Gasol was available; they were just 0-2 in the two games they played the Thunder with Kendrick Perkins this season.
Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, beating either potential second round opponent in a seven game series without the services of Bogut has to be considered a tall task.
It's unfair to equate this controversy to the one that the Clippers were/are working through, what with their owner being banned from the NBA for life for a history of racists acts. But with yesterday's news reinforcing the notion that there's some measure of dysfunction within the Warriors' organization and everyone knowing exactly what's at stake for the Warriors in the final two games of this series, it's clear that there's enormous pressure on the players to perform if they want to help Jackson keep his job.
In short, Lowe wasn't exactly wrong to claim that "Jackson is very unlikely to return next season".
For more thoughts on Jackson from throughout the season, check out our storystream.