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OAKLAND – With rumors running rampant and speculation swirling about, the Warriors on Wednesday presented a cheerful, unified front and went back to the business of basketball.
Mark Jackson was still in place as head coach. He ran practice as usual, though operating under harsher public inspection after his curious reassignment of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine buttressed a Yahoo Sports report describing the Warriors as increasingly dysfunctional.
"Same as usual – good, hard, focused practice,'' Jackson said. "Guys got their work in. Getting closer to being healthy. It was a regular day of work for us.''
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Moreover, point guard Stephen Curry, the team's All-Star and leader, expressed his emphatic support for Jackson, who took the blunt end of Adrian Wojnarowski's Yahoo story, as well as another by Bill Simmons of ESPN suggesting Jackson will leave the Warriors before next season.
"Coach made the decision, and we backed him 100 percent,'' Curry said. "We didn't know the ins and outs of what happened, what the details were. That's not our place to know. Our job is to go out and play basketball, win games and that's what we're focused on. When it comes to being united, our team is as strong as it's ever been.
"And regardless of what's being said, we're all together and back coach Jackson 100 percent with the decisions he makes. His track record is pretty solid since he's been here, so I don't think he'd be a guy to fly off the cuff if it didn’t warrant it.''
The afternoon was so jovial that Jackson actually made light of Curry's support.
"He's dysfunctional,'' Jackson cracked. "According to Bill Simmons and Wojnarowski and all those guys, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
"In all seriousness, I don't expect anything less. He's a guy that I have tremendous love and appreciation for. He's a franchise guy. He knows how we go about doing things. And I'm extremely blessed to be his head coach.''
Once the door swung open, there was no sign of dampened spirits or sense of loss. Players and coaches focused on individual drills. Rehabilitating Festus Ezeli ran laps wearing headphones. Assistant coach Pete Myers drilled Harrison Barnes, with Andrew Bogut grinning while observing. Assistant Darren Erman worked with Klay Thompson. Assistant Jerry DeGregorio was off with Jermaine O'Neal, while assistant Lindsey Hunter oversaw Curry's typical post-practice shooting exhibition.
There was no Scalabrine. As popular as he was, there was no gloom in the room.
"This is my staff, this is my team,'' Jackson said.
Jackson gathered the players on Tuesday to inform them of Scalabrine's departure, just as he did when popular reserve Kent Bazemore was traded away in February.
Curry said such gestures are appreciated, insisting there were no concerns about dissension among the players. He said the team is "very tight, as tight as it could be at this point,'' with 11 games left and the playoffs on the horizon.
"I don’t think we expected to know the details of what happened,'' Curry said. "But, obviously, for (Jackson) to bring us together and inform us that one of our guys who's been on the road with us all year is not going to be here – at this point of the season it's kind of a weird situation. To address it and make sure everybody's on the same page . . . that's a good enough message for me.''
This team's resilience and unity will become evident, or not, over next 11 games and the postseason. For the moment, it's all happy talk and amid business as usual, even with so many eyes on them.
"They'll run through a wall for me, and I'll run through a wall for them," Jackson said.