The buzz around the Warriors throughout a summer now down to its final hours can be distilled mostly to two questions, one related to acquiring Kevin Love and the other to the dismissal of Mark Jackson.
One of those questions was answered definitively, with Love going to the Cavaliers.
The Jackson question, however, will not die; I was asked about it last week by an East Coast TV outlet. Even though Steve Kerr replaced Jackson 4 1/2 months ago, Warriors fans and observers around the NBA still wonder why Jackson was bounced three days after the season ended.
After examining the move from 360 angles and connecting the dots, I keep returning to the same theory.
Though the Warriors likely were dissatisfied with certain elements of Coach Jackson's job performance, they most assuredly were nervous about the Rev. Jackson's Christianity and the tenets within.
Among the many factors that led to Jackson's firing in May, this one is too logical to dismiss – particularly when considering the franchise's No. 1 goal.
Again, this is a theory. There is no clear evidence behind it. There is, however, considerable circumstantial support.
Fact: The Warriors yearn to relocate from Oakland to San Francisco.
Fact: This move is never far from the minds and mouths of CEO Joe Lacob and co-owner Peter Guber.
Fact: The move is Priority One for team president Rick Welts.
The Warriors have studied the trials and errors of the Giants and 49ers, both of which made multiple attempts to get a new facility in San Francisco before the Giants finally succeeded in the mid-1990s.
Team executives have spent three years cozying up to San Francisco's political and business powers, while hoping to disarm an active and engaged citizenry. The Warriors want to be embraced, for that tends to lower any barriers.
For an ownership committed to spending the next several years smooching outwardly liberal San Francisco, with the hope of landing there by 2018, is it possible they perceive Jackson's conservative religious views as a potential liability?
Christians generally oppose same-sex relationships, defining marriage as that between a man and a woman. San Francisco leads the nation in sexual liberation. I have to believe Warriors honchos debated this in back-room meetings.
Could they risk having a man of such faith as one of the faces of the franchise?
What if Jackson were to say something that was viewed as controversial, forcing the team into damage-control mode?
And, furthermore, putting Welts, the first openly gay executive in American team sports, in a compromising position?
It was in May that select members of the media manufactured a story casting Jackson in an intolerant light. In response to a question about Jason Collins, the openly gay big man who in February signed with the Nets, Jackson, according to a "team source," supposedly nixed the idea.
"Not in my locker room," was the quote that circulated.
Now if Jackson actually turned his back on Collins in February, it would have lit up the 24-hour news cycle long before the calendar turned to May. I recall a Jackson's response in a different context.
Jackson did say, "Not in my locker room." The question, however, related to whether having Collins on the roster might be a distraction.
I don't know how strongly Jackson feels about Collins or homosexuality in general. I do know Jackson is acquainted with Jason and Jarron Collins, as well as their family.
I also recall Jackson saying he would "pray for" Collins and his family, which could be construed as disapproval of the gay lifestyle.
In speaking with Jackson on Monday, he chose not to comment on the reasons behind his separation from the Warriors – or whether it was related to his faith. He said only that he was fired, had moved on and that "it was a great run and I have nothing but good memories about what we were able to accomplish."
Lacob was asked, in the hours after he fired Jackson, if Jackson's faith or his church in Southern California were factors. Lacob declined to answer.
Lacob and Co. may have had differences with Jackson's strategy and game management. They may have believed Jackson operated too independently. They may have disliked the chemistry on the coaching staff. They may have wanted someone whose personal principles are more in sync with their own. All of these factors, and more, could have played a part in the firing of a coach who had improved the team's record in each of his three seasons.
But this unaddressed factor is too logical of a reasonable theory, certainly among those that help in answering a question dying a slow death.