The Warriors practice was intense. Columnists and TV reporters and cameramen showed up. Jackson was as defiant as ever. Nelson was hardly spewing the faux calm he tends to employ. The Warriors players were fairly tight-lipped, rushing past the throng of media so they could avoid talking about the Jax Saga.
Jackson, easy to spot in his red shoes, looked like he was trying unsuccessfully to practice hard. His body language didn’t suggest he was fully committed, at least from my balcony view of the end of practice.
One thing was clear: this ain’t over.
The prodigal son has returned. It’s good to have Jack back. We’re going to keep him in the same position, as far as my starting (small forward). He is concerned. We met this morning. What went on the meeting will remain private, in house. He served his suspension and we’re ready to roll.
Is he still your captain?
You can ask him that.
How much of a distraction has it been?
Well, you know the only unfortunate part is we’ve been doing some very nice things. Morrow has had two great games and we’ve won 3 out of 4 games, or whatever, 3 out of 5 now. So we’ve been playing pretty darn well. And nobody seems to know. (chuckles). That’s the only downside as far as I’m concerned. But things happen and you deal with them. You move on.
You convinced Jack is good to go?
Yeah. Jack’s good to go.
You said you would try to accommodate Would you be more likely to do that now?
Nothing’s changed. We’re still going to try to accommodate him. But it’s not that easty to do.
Jackson said the staff didn’t support him in that Lakers game. Do you feel that way?
Well it got heated between he and Kobe, and those things happen during the course of a game. He picked up some fouls and, I don’t know, it was a physical encounter as far as I concerned.
Is this going to happen again?
I hope not.
Have you told him if it happens again he’ll be suspended again?
What we talked about will stay private.
You said I suspended Stephen Jackson
That was my question. Wasn’t that something Larry should be doing?
Yeah. He did.
We needed to sit down and just talk. And we did, and we’ve moved on.
You said you can coach Jack and he wouldn’t be a problem. Did that change?
No, I think he’s going to be the same guy. We’re not asking him to be somebody different than he is. To be jack out there. He’s a good player. He played well for us. As long as he’s here. And like I said, if we get a chance to move him and its good for the organization, we will do that.
You’re OK with him being the same guy off the court?
I’m never going to ask a guy to change. He’s gotta do that himself if he wants to. It’s just like anything else, from stopping to smoke cigarettes or drugs or anything else. If you don’t want to do it yourself, nobody can do it for you. That’s up to him. He’s 31 years old, or will be this year. He’s an adult and he needs to make that decision.
Think he’ll have as big a role offensively as he did last year?
I think the same role is what I have penciled in. I’m going to play the young guys more. I don’t think he’ll be leading the league in minutes. He’ll be a player for us, a starter, be a big part of what we do.
What about his leadership role? Did he talk with his teammates?
He has asked not to be captain, and I accepted. So I think that’s a good thing because our young guys need to accept more leadership. It gives Monta more of a chance now to be that guy and he’s going to grow into that role. So that was accepted. It was Jack’s idea, and we’ll move on from there.
That was this today?
That was this morning, yeah.
Do you think he had any legitimate complaints?
We’ll leave all that in house, what we agree with and what we don’t agree with. I’m not going to tell you what goes on in private meetings. I never have and I hope I never will.