Yesterday it was confirmed by ESPN.com that the Golden State Warriors have hired former New York Knick and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson as their new Head Coach. Jackson will earn $6 million over the three year deal with a team option for a fourth year. This is yet another puzzling move by a franchise that has been anchored by mediocrity for most of it’s recent history. Jackson was quoted as saying “I am really elated about this opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenge of building the Warriors into a perennial contender“. Forget the win/loss column though for a moment, this may be the most fan-celebrated coaching change in NBA history as Jackson’s gut-wrenching commentary is finally of the air.
Pairing up with Jeff Van Gundy on ESPN’s NBA coverage, Jackson has made a number of NBA fans cringe with quotes such as these:
- “Momma there goes that man!”
- “Hand down, man down!”
- “That’s a grown man move young fella”
- “NOT ON MY WATCH!”
- “The operation was a success but the patient died”
Seriously, the NBA audio landscape will be a better place with this move and the Warriors weren’t going to win any time soon anyway. With this hiring Jackson gets hidden away in Oakland to conjure up new ways to spoil microphones and send listeners insane, only now his audience will be contained to the Warriors players and staff for the most part. Imagine the exposure he would have received if he had gone to the Knicks as was Donnie Walsh’s plan?
In other developing news, rumours are circulating that the Warriors and Sixers are discussing a potential trade involving Andre Iguodala and Monta Ellis. The salaries of both players are close enough for the deal to go through without the involvement of additional players, and the Warriors would instantly improve on the defensive end. While Ellis is a certified scoring machine, Golden State clearly need to improve on the defense to increase their (limited) chances of success. With Iguodala on board they would acquire a new starting Shooting Guard that could instantly improve their perimeter defense as well as clear the way for Dorell Wright to take the next step in his development. Accompany that pair with Stephen Curry at the Point and Golden State may have a pre-season “Big 3” party of their own. (Drink in the sarcasm please…)
For Philadelphia, another “Iverson-like” scorer to build around may not be the best practice but would certainly be an adequate exchange for the much maligned Iguodala. It’s clear that the relationship between “Iggy” and the Sixers faithful has been tested over the past 12 months and a fresh start could do both parties some good. It’s safe to say that the Philly big men would see a lot less of the ball as a result of this move however. Either that, or “Ellis vs. Doug Collins” headlines will make the Wells Fargo Center appear more likely to be hosting a UFC Main Event than NBA games.
Watch this space as we’ll cover this and all the NBA’s movements over the off-season.
Paul Henderson is on Twitter. @HD_Paul