The Golden State Warriors fired Mark Jackson Tuesday, in a decision that most people would agree is a brand of stupid that has become all too prevalent in the NBA. Everyone is going to be talking about how Jackson got gypped, and how the Warriors didn’t have a good enough team regardless of the coach to get past the Los Angeles Clippers, the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs.
That’s all very true, but it happened, and the Warriors have to live with that decision.
However, Mr. Jackson can move on in style, and one of the best ways for him to do that would be to reinvent one of the most powerful franchises in all of sports, the Los Angeles Lakers.
First of all, the Lakers job has got to be one of the hardest coaching situations available right now. The team is not a team, but a collection or random 10-day contract guys, aging stars, clashing personalities and Phil Jackson worshipers. The immense amount of pressure around the Lakers’ next coach could be too much to handle for most guys.
On the flip side, the ceiling for the Lakers is as high as any franchise in sports. The Lakers get a nice draft pick this season, and they’re just a couple high-quality free agents or blockbuster trades away from being dominant again. That’s how teams like the Lakers stay relevant no matter how bad of a season they might have. The trick this year is dealing with the aging stars, and how the loyalty factor comes into play, regarding guys like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
As for Mark Jackson, sticking it to the Warriors by becoming the next head coach of the Lakers, and building another dynasty in purple and gold might be the perfect thing, but do the Lakers want Jackson?
At this point, I would think it would be a popular pick for both fans and players, so the question is about philosophical consistencies amongst ownership and management. Jackson is more defensive minded than Mike D’Antoni, but just about anybody fits that description. Jackson believed in defense leading to offense, and he worked well with speed and a small lineup.
Outside of Pau Gasol, the Lakers can still be about defense and speed. Also, Jackson is inspirational and relatable to young players, and with a new draft pick coming along, and a guy like Nick Young looking like he might stay, that might be a good situation.
All that said, who knows what the Lakers will look like next season. It will have to be more like a package deal. If the Lakers talk to Jackson, and promise certain players that Jackson will be there if they come along, then the team may start to form before a single contract is signed. We won’t know until the hammer drops on the first huge offseason trade deal.
Don’t forget, the New York Knicks are looking for a new head coach as well, and Jackson spent his best years as a player in NYC. However, Jackson currently lives in Los Angeles, and he and his wife pastor True Love Worship Center International in Reseda, California.
If the Lakers consider Jackson, I wouldn’t be surprised to see wagons of stars heading west.
“Mama, there goes that man.” — Mark Jackson