Mark Jackson will not be a lame duck coach next season.
The Golden State Warriors picked up the option on Jackson’s contract for the 2014-15 season on Wednesday. While both sides could still work out a long-term extension this summer, exercising the option at least ensures Jackson won’t enter the upcoming season with an expiring contract.
The Warriors also announced the hiring of 11-year NBA veteran Brian Scalabrine as an assistant coach and promoted Joe Boylan from video scout to assistant coach overseeing player development. Pete Myers, who is already on staff, is expected to be the lead assistant after Mike Malone left to be the Sacramento Kings’ head coach.
Darren Erman and Jerry DeGregorio also remain on Jackson’s staff.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said last month that he has had informal discussions with Jackson’s agent, Arn Tellem, about an extension for the coach and didn’t anticipate contentious negotiations. Tellem was Myers’ long-time mentor at the Wasserman Media Group before Myers moved into the Warriors’ front office two years ago.
Jackson, who doubles as an ordained minister, has said all along that his contract situation will ”work itself out.”
”I trust in God. I’m in the best hands possible, and I don’t mean Arn Tellem,” he quipped after the season ended in May.
Jackson’s job certainly seems secure.
He took the Warriors from a 23-43 record during the lockout-shortened season his first year to a 47-35 team that earned the Western Conference’s sixth seed and eliminated Denver in the first round of the playoffs. The eventual conference champion San Antonio Spurs knocked Golden State out in six games in the second round.
The Warriors posted the second-highest winning percentage improvement behind Brooklyn. Golden State also is positioned for more success with point guard Stephen Curry anchoring a collection of promising young talent, and Jackson has so far found a way to blend them all together.
The former New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers point guard, among others, had worked as a broadcaster before joining the Warriors on June 6, 2011, with no coaching experience at any level.
Jackson has emphasized defense and rebounding – two areas where Golden State had historically been weak – during his tenure. The Warriors have improved drastically in several of those categories, including opponents’ field goal percentage (fourth in NBA last season; 20th in 2011-12), opponents’ 3-point percentage (seventh last season; 28th in 2011-12), defensive rebounding (first last season; 24th in 2011-12) and rebounds per game (third last season; 28th in 2011-12).