Three years ago the Golden State Warriors hired former TV analyst Mark Jackson to be the head coach of their franchise. All things considered, especially the coaching inexperience, Jackson did rather well, leading the team to two straight playoff appearances in the last two seasons and the two best records since 1994.
Despite this, though, following their early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Clippers this postseason the team decided to fire Jackson, leaving many either confused or –in the case of a lot of Warriors fans– angry.
Still Jackson was canned whether they like it or not, and on Wednesday the team went the route of another coach with no experience to replace him in the form of TNT analyst Steve Kerr, inking him to a five-year deal, helping stave off the New York Knicks.
On Thursday for the first time, Jackson briefly wished Kerr well, while also pointing out the obvious that Kerr has essentially been handed a championship-contending team that Jackson helped build.
“I have no thoughts either way. Congratulations to him.” Jackson told the San Jose Mercury News. “Wish him the best. He’s inherited a great team with a great future.”
Golden State won the bidding war for Kerr with the Knicks by essentially adding the fifth year to the deal after New York and Kerr’s former coach, Phil Jackson, offered four. Also, the $25 million figure in the contract helped as well.
Jackson was said to be let go over disputes with management, and while it’s all rosy at the moment with the new hire, as Jackson pointed out, Kerr is walking into his first NBA coaching gig with a lot of people expecting him to win a title right away.
A honeymoon built around those circumstances can end in a hurry and it can end badly.