Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
If he gets the opportunity to coach again, Mark Jackson -- a potential Knicks coaching candidate -- says he'll be sure to have more regular communication with his general manager and owner.
"I was a guy that always was told to stay in your place. So as a coach (with the Warriors), I wasn't trying to get in the business of the general manager or the ownership," Jackson said during an interview with ESPN's First Take this week. "Old school. If the coach is in the owner's office or the coach is in somebody else's office, it's almost like, you can muddy the waters. So I think the relationships of general managers and ownership (is something I'd take a different approach with). And I have a great relationship with (Warriors GM) Bob Myers. There's no question about that. Forget about what you heard. Do me a favor: on the record ask Bob Myers what he thinks of Mark Jackson. On the record, not behind the scenes, ask (Warriors owner) Joe Lacob about the relationship that I had with him. So I wouldn't say better relationships, I would say more dialogue across the board."
Jackson was fired by the Warriors after leading them to the playoffs in consecutive seasons (2012-14). It was the first time the franchise made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1990-92. Jackson's firing was clearly not based on wins and losses (some of the background for the decision is found here).
Lacob had said after the firing that there were disagreements with Jackson over assistant coaching and that Jackson didn't get along with many in the organization.
Obviously, Steve Kerr replaced Jackson and propelled the Warriors to three NBA titles and five Finals appearances in five years.
Jackson, one of the top point guards to come out of New York City, returned to broadcasting but still would like to get back on the sidelines.
The Knicks and Nets may have coaching vacancies this offseason. Jackson reportedly is on a list of coaches the Nets are interested in if the club doesn't retain interim Jacque Vaughn. It's worth noting that Jackson has a huge supporter in Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant's business partner/manager, though it's unknown if that would factor in to the Nets' head-coaching decision.
Jackson was under consideration during the Knicks' last coaching search under team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry. But the executives chose to hire David Fizdale over Jackson.
Jackson is still held in high regard by people in the Knicks organization who were brought in prior to new team president Leon Rose's arrival.
If Rose doesn't retain interim head coach Mike Miller, he will be looking for another head coach.
While Jackson has supporters in the Knicks organization, it's unknown if he is a candidate for the job. Tom Thibodeau is certainly a candidate if Rose doesn't keep Miller. Other potential candidates include Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari and Kenny Atkinson.
One interesting note regarding Jackson: When he was a head coach with the Warriors, Jackson wanted to hire Van Gundy as his top assistant, per SNY sources familiar with the matter. Van Gundy was an ESPN analyst at the time.
This isn't to suggest that Jackson would hire Van Gundy if Jackson gets a head-coaching job. That may or may not happen. Van Gundy, of course, will draw plenty of interest from other teams with job openings.
During his First Take interview, Jackson was asked about Thibodeau being a favorite for the Knicks job.
"Outstanding basketball mind," Jackson, who was drafted by the Knicks and spent five seasons with the club, said of Thibodeau. "...He's a coach that's proven and has had great success. And nobody will outwork him, so I wish him nothing but the best and pulling for him and whatever his heart desires."
Jackson added that coaching again is "a dream of mine" but he's not going to be overly upset if he doesn't get the opportunity.
The former St. John's star has continually credited Kerr for elevating Golden State to a championship team. But he pointed out in his First Take interview that his own work with the Warriors shouldn't be overlooked.
"Steve Kerr is a heckuva basketball coach and an even better person. So he's done a heckuva job with the Golden State Warriors. (But) I would say get the facts straight," Jackson said, referring to his tenure as coach. "The fact is we were a top five defense over the course of that tenure and we were a top 10 offense when it was all said and done. You have to understand - and these guys will admit it - the Steph Currys, the Klay Thompsons, the Draymond Greens: the team that I had are not the same individuals (that they were when I coached them). They look the same, and they're the same people , but they're not the same players that they were when I first got ahold of them.
"To their credit, they worked their tail off. Got bigger, got stronger, got better, got more confidence, more swag. And all of a sudden, there's nothing you can do with them because they're all-time great talents. So give them credit for putting in the time, give Steve Kerr credit for coming in, making the proper adjustments and propelling them to the next level.
"That being said: I'd be a fool to sit here and tell you that there's nothing that I would do differently. There's certainly things that I would do differently. And I look forward to the opportunity of one day proving that. But there's no question about the success. This is a team that, one time in the previous (17) years made the playoffs. All of a sudden, they propel themselves into a dynasty. I don't want credit for making them a dynasty. But from that one time in (17) years to all of a sudden being a playoff team, something good takes place."