The firing of Mark Jackson left Stephen Curry in an awkward position.
On one hand, the Golden State Warriors superstar point guard had a well-documented relationship with his former coach, and he was never hesitant to make his voice heard during the trying times. He has to remain loyal to a man we can safely assume was a coach, a mentor and a friend.
Speaking publicly for the first time since Jackson was given the axe, Curry delivered quite a few choice quotes about how the Jackson scenario unfolded, this chief among them, per Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group:
I’ve heard it wasn’t as good as it seems. But that’s so far from my perception of coach and the reality I dealt with every day. From my dealings with him, I just don’t see him that way.
I heard a lot of different explanations and reasons. I heard the positions on why management and the front office wanted to make a change. I can’t say I agree with all of them, but I know what they were thinking and I understand where they are coming from.
That tempered understanding is a difficult emotion to fully understand, and it’s likely we’ll never fully realize exactly how Curry feels.
He’s clearly on board with the new move to hire Steve Kerr, even saying, “I agree with the decision (to hire Kerr).” There’s no room for doubt there. And Thompson also writes that he’s not the type to demand a trade, even if he’s frustrated with the management.
But then there are portions of the report like this one: “Curry said his feelings about Jackson won’t go away, but it’s going to take time to let his new reality set in. And the subsequent fall out after Jackson’s firing hasn’t done much to help him move on.”
CBS Sports’ Zach Harper basically predicted all of this while Jackson still had a tenuous hold on his job:
If they do fire Jackson, they’ll have plenty of big time coaches wanting to take over such a great situation with the team. And with Curry under contract through the 2016-2017 season, they’ll have plenty of time to repair any potential harm done to their star’s relationship with the franchise.
Fortunately for fans of the Dubs, it appears as though even this fallout isn’t enough to shake Curry’s steadfast loyalty to the franchise that originally drafted him out of Davidson. He hasn’t espoused anything negative about Kerr, after all.
That said, you’d expect to see Curry receive a bit more of a say going forward. He’s the highly paid star player, and that position comes with certain luxuries not often afforded to lesser players.
The NBA is more of a meritocracy than a democracy, and that’s true whether the league’s serfs like it or not. Please permit me to weave feudalistic metaphors into a comparison of other governmental systems.
“We’ve just got a bunch of player that are trying to win,” Curry told Thompson. “A lot of things are going on, decisions have to be made and I can’t control that.”