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Ex-Warriors assistant Brian Scalabrine describes ‘dysfunctional’ events leading up to Mark Jackson firing him

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine prepares to stand up while on the bench with head coach Mark Jackson, far right, while playing the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Jackson has reportedly forced the reassignment of assistant coach Scalabrine. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine prepares to stand up while on the bench with head coach Mark Jackson, far right, while playing the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Jackson forced the reassignment of assistant coach Scalabrine. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Former Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine detailed how he was forced off Mark Jackson’s staff during a tumultuous 2013-14 season in an interview on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski released Wednesday.

Scalabrine spoke about the events during and after the Warriors’ 99-90 loss at home on March 22 to the San Antonio Spurs, who were missing Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, that precipitated his dismissal.

Asked after the game if there was a reason for a longer-than-usual arrival to his postgame press conference, Jackson said, “No, just talking, that’s all…I was talking to my staff. We were just talking basketball. That’s all.”

Scalabrine shed light on how much more there was to it than that behind closed doors, with an argument that began at a halftime coaches’ meeting.

“The Spurs were my scout,” he said. “We talked about this one thing we needed to do, and I thought that (Andrew) Bogut did a good job of getting to where he needed to go. But in the coaches’ meeting – which just happens a lot, it’s just the way sports is – there’s a lot of bashing Bogut on this particular play. It’s really insignificant when you think about it. It’s a cumulative effect of all this.

“Me and one of the other assistant coaches, all I wanted to do was not jump to a conclusion. I wanted to watch the clip that we were talking about, which means watch the tape, right? And they wouldn’t put it on. So I was like, ‘Let’s just watch the tape, and let’s figure it out. I don’t want to argue. Let’s watch the tape.’

“Afterwards, it’s a big thing. Like we’re having a meeting afterwards, and we’re going to clear the air here (with Mark Jackson). He’s the leader, so we had this meeting of clearing the air, and the meeting was, it was like a bombardment of he’s trying to like get everyone to say that I’m a bad guy, and I’m a bad coach, and I should be off the staff. I’m not sure what the point of it is, but just imagine an emotional loss after the Spurs, and he goes to every coach and says, ‘Should Scalabrine be here? Is he a bad guy? Is he disrespectful?’ Or whatever he said. And what is an (assistant) coach going to do? You’re like some low-level coach, and Mark is your boss, and is Scalabrine disrespectful? Of course you’re going to say ‘yes.’ So every person was like ‘yeah.’ So then he brought in management and did the same thing. So we have a meeting where it’s me versus coaches and management. We’re talking about Bob (Myers) and the assistant GM and the owner’s son (Kirk Lacob). And my whole thing was like, ‘I think there’s a time and place for this, right? Can’t we do this in a different time?’”

Three days later, Scalabrine was essentially fired from Jackson’s staff and reassigned to the team’s NBA Development League affiliate in Santa Cruz following another meeting with Jackson.

“The Spurs thing I could understand,” Scalabrine said. “It was emotional, but three days later, my exit meeting with Mark is the most legendary thing of all of this. So I have to have this meeting, and I’ve got to basically according to Bob Myers – which I agree with him – I’ve got to apologize for what I said. At the end of the day, he is still the head coach. I am still the assistant coach, and I got to apologize for I guess assuming that we should watch tape (of the play), whatever. So I go in there and I apologize.

“Clearly you could see there was a lot of dysfunction, whatever. But his exit meeting comes into basically Mark saying like, ‘I’ve got to let you go.’ And me on the same time basically saying, ‘You know there’s only 11 games left (before the playoffs).’ Like not only am I worried about my reputation, and I’m not really worried about his reputation. I’m just kind of informing him like you don’t come out squeaky clean on something like this. You don’t just along the way just like dismiss one of your assistant coaches and think that nothing is going to happen. Like, there’s still going to be some fallout from this. Then we started getting into the talk of team and how I thought that they were really good, and he thought that they were not good as they really are. And at the end of the day, I got fired, and I went to the D League, and it was an adventure. The biggest thing I was like so surprised about was I had another year on my deal, and I offered. I said, ‘Listen, you can have all your money back. If you’re back next year, I’ll just go and do something else. It’s totally fine. This is not a good fit for me and you. But along the way, we don’t have ruin my reputation nor do we have to ruin your reputation.’ As a way of pleading to him like, ‘Do not do this, right?’ No. Didn’t care.”

Afterward, Wojnarowski broke the news of Scalabrine’s forced reassignment and wrote of the Warriors’ “increasingly dysfunctional atmosphere.” The story set the tone for the rest of the season even as Jackson denied the dysfunction.

Scalabrine said he had championship expectations for the Warriors when he decided to join Jackson, whom he said he was “really close friends” with before his arrival at Golden State.

“I thought that we would win it, and I thought that team was unbelievable, and I knew about a month-and-a-half in that we just didn’t have what it takes,” Scalabrine said. “We weren’t disciplined enough. We didn’t push and grind the way we have to grind to win. Now, we had what it takes to win, but there is an element of uncomfortable-ness and being comfortable with uncomfortable-ness that we just never really went into from a coaches-to-players standpoint.”

After the Warriors’ first-round playoff series loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Jackson was fired. He told SiriusXM afterward Scalabrine for weeks had showed him “disrespect.” Neither he nor Scalabrine have coached since then.

Also on Wednesday, Bogut appeared on a SiriusXM radio show with his former position coach Scalabrine as the co-host and spoke about his lone season as an NBA coach.

“The thing that I respected about Brian was he marches to his own drum,” Bogut said. “He’s not a follower, so he stuck to his principles and what he believed in, and I’m a similar type guy. He doesn’t buy into what the crowd is saying, so we kind of had a relationship based upon that where we were kind of our own people and didn’t follow what other people were doing.

“He was the first NBA coach to get sent to the D League, though,” Bogut added, laughing. “So it was kind of a record. He got a D League assignment as a coach. At least he set a record when he was coaching.”

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Warriors just for fun put ’73-9′ message in a fortune cookie

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The Warriors have consistently said they don’t talk much about the possibility of breaking the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see it in their future.

Warriors president Rick Welts and guard Klay Thompson last week visited the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco to make their own custom cookies as they unveiled the team’s Chinese New Year jerseys. They slipped a piece of paper inside referring to a new record, Welts told CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday.

“I actually wrote out one and handed it to him, and he put it in a fortune cookie, and it did say ’73-9,’” Welts said of Thompson.

The Warriors are 44-4 headed into Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards, and the best start in NBA history has higher-ups on the team at least having the Bulls’ record on their minds.

“I think the record of 72 wins is the unspoken thing out there,” Welts said.

“I think not speaking it is more in tune with the way our team does it.”

Said Warriors CEO Joe Lacob of his players on KNBR:  “The most important thing is winning the title and staying hungry, but they are chasing history to some extent now, and if we can do that at the same time and get that done, it would be a great thing.”

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Warriors’ Bob Myers ran into LeBron James in Hawaii while celebrating NBA championship

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers smiles during a press conference introducing new head coach Steve Kerr at the Warriors' practice facility in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Kerr is currently a TNT commentator, was the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, and was a guard with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. He is one of two players to win two championships with two different teams in consecutive seasons. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers smiles during a press conference introducing new head coach Steve Kerr at the Warriors’ practice facility in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Busy Warriors general manager Bob Myers had a brief moment to celebrate the team’s championship with a vacation to Hawaii with his family after the draft and free agency were done.

Out there, he encountered none other than LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers star the Warriors had just gotten the best of in the NBA Finals, Myers told Bleacher Report Radio on Monday.

“I like to play basketball, and there was a halfcourt basketball hoop where we were, and my wife said, ‘Why don’t you go play basketball and find somebody to play basketball with?’” Myers said. “And I said there’s no one here that I’m going to be able to play basketball with. It’s people relaxing or golfing. And so I went and kind of shot around by myself and then I walked back to the pool area and my wife she looks at me and goes, ‘Is that LeBron James in the pool?’ And I said, ‘No, LeBron James…’ I looked over as I was midsentence, and it was LeBron James in the pool.

Myers, the reigning Executive of the Year, added with a laugh, “I said to my wife, I don’t think I’m going to ask LeBron to play basketball with me.”

James, of course, had fun on his Hawaiian vacation with family, too, and had no problem speaking with Myers.

“He was very nice,” Myers said. “He’s a very thoughtful guy.

“We just talked about the Finals…We just talked about our teams, and it was great.”

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5 things we learned from Warriors’ 108-105 win against the Philadelphia 76ers

Here are five things we learned from the Warriors’ 108-105 win against the Philadelphia 76ers:

1. Messing around with the game isn’t a good idea. That’s what Steve Kerr said and what Draymond Green fessed up to. He wanted another triple-double and started trying to make unnecessary passes with the Warriors up big to get it. Bad idea, as the 76ers were able to get some momentum and make the game close.

2. Klay Thompson remains on fire. He was 14-for-26 from the field in his 32-point performance and continues his tear before he heads to the All-Star game.

3. Harrison Barnes’ game-winner was a confidence-booster. He’s been up and down since missing weeks due to a sprained ankle. The shot might not have been talked about much after the Warriors blew a 24-point lead to make it necessary. But Barnes will take it — and make it.

4. Green’s near triple-double was not awesome. He fell one assist shy, but it was obvious he was trying a bit too hard to get it. Turnovers were committed along the way. Yes, he leads the league with eight of them. Ironically, he made the assist for the game-winner — leaving him one assist shy of his desired goal. “It was all my fault,” Green said. “I was selfishly unselfish.”

5. The Warriors’ ball movement continues to impress overall. The Warriors’ 26 assists in the first half was two shy of the franchise record. And with the game on the line, Stephen Curry and Green were willing passers, finding the open man and making the right play.

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5 things we learned from Warriors’ 120-90 win against the San Antonio Spurs

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills (8) as he slips on the floor in the first quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills (8) as he slips on the floor in the first quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Here are five things we learned from the Warriors’ 120-90 win against the San Antonio Spurs:

1. Stephen Curry is unstoppable, and that goes for the NBA’s top-ranked defense. He was 6-for-9 from 3-point range after having had his struggles against his Spurs in the past. Draymond Green said he noticed the day before the game Curry would be ready. “He came out and showed that when he came out and hit that three from like 37 feet out, he confirmed it,” Green said.

2. The Spurs were left humbled by the Warriors — for the most part. Gregg Popovich said three times in his two-minute postgame interview that it was like men against boys during the game. “I don’t think that there was one area in which it was close,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. LaMarcus Aldridge after struggling against Green wasn’t backing down, though, explaining he was simply too eager. “I felt like I had a matchup,” Aldridge said after his 2-for-9 shooting performance.

3. The Warriors’ bench played well again. Steve Kerr went out of his way to especially point out the contributions of Brandon Rush, who after giving up his spot in the starting lineup to Harrison Barnes came on and was 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Shaun Livingston was dominating with a 6-for-6 shooting performance. Andre Iguodala and Festus Ezeli helped the bench regain some of that scoring consistency it had lost earlier in the season.

4. Green set the tone again with his defense. “Just his heart,” Curry noted. “He’s a little undersized. He loves taking on those challenges.” Kawhi Leonard got plenty of attention before the game, but it was Green who stood out. Aldridge probably noticed even if he actually thought he held the advantage.

5. Kerr was happy with the win to say the least. He smiled and joked when asked about Popovich, saying of his mentor, “That’s my guy, but I don’t feel that bad right now.” He spoke of how his team manages to rise to the occasion. “They’re a pretty cocky group,” Kerr said. “They are. In a good way, though. They corral that arrogance and they believe.”

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5 things we learned from Warriors’ 122-110 win against the Indiana Pacers

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) and Stephen Curry (30) celebrate a basket by Green in the first quarter of their NBA game against the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) and Stephen Curry (30) celebrate a basket by Green in the first quarter of their NBA game against the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Here are five things we learned from the Warriors’ 122-110 win against the Indiana Pacers:

1. Steve Kerr has his sense of humor back. That was always going to be one of the indications of how Kerr was feeling, and on an emotional night when he basked in standing ovation, he had jokes as well. Asked about Stephen Curry’s triple-double in which he hit a halfcourt shot, Kerr explained it was “great coaching.” He’s back.

2. The Warriors have the utmost respect for the Spurs. The one topic Kerr wasn’t happy to address at length was the upcoming matchup. Players spoke with a reverence about what San Antonio has accomplished in the past and how the team has kept it going. Monday’s game can’t come sooner for basketball fans.

3. Curry is unreal, but we knew that. To hit a shot from three-quarters of the way down the court after the buzzer and then bank in a halfcourt shot at the next buzzer is ridiculous. But looking at Kerr after Curry hit his eighth 3-pointer, all the coach did was dip his head as if to say, “yep.” This stuff is almost expected from Curry by now.

4. The Warriors still have room to grow. Kerr noted that the Warriors didn’t have their “best stuff” in the win, as they let the Pacers hang around and committed 17 turnovers. It’s Kerr’s full-time presence that is counted on to get the Warriors closer to championship level.

5. Leandro Barbosa continues to shine after coming back from a sprained shoulder. He’s provided the spark off the bench, with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

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5 things we learned from Warriors’ 125-94 win against the Chicago Bulls

Here are five things we learned from the Warriors’ 125-94 win against the Chicago Bulls:

1. The Warriors play with chemistry and trust. Those are the qualities of the team that Leandro Barbosa cited when I asked what would give him license to throw up an underhanded lob pass to Andre Iguodala for a dunk. That low-percentage pass might not thrill the coaches, but the Warriors are playing with that much confidence in each other.

2. Steve Kerr likes that the Warriors are moving the ball around as he would have liked. He noted to the team after the win that over the past two games, it had combined for 71 assists and 18 turnovers. “That’s an unbelievable stat,” Andrew Bogut said.

3. The bench has bounced back. It had a rough go in the wakeup-call loss at Detroit, but was in fine form in Chicago. Barbosa gave the Warriors a lift on offense. Andre Iguodala looked spry throwing down an up-and-under dunk. Shaun Livingston was 6-for-8 from the field.

4. The Warriors avoided injury for the most part. Draymond Green passed the NBA’s concussion protocol. Andrew Bogut’s back spasms are a recurring issue and didn’t keep him out of the game long. Stephen Curry was icing his shins, but got right back up after Derrick Rose crashed into him.

5. Harrison Barnes played well. He might not yet be 100 percent after missing so many weeks with a sprained ankle, but he scored points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. When he’s a threat to score, the Warriors have an embarrassment of riches on offense.