- Chris Broussard, NBA analyst
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When Golden State Warriors assistant coach Darren Erman was fired earlier this month, the reason given was a "violation of company policy."
It turns out that Erman's violation was secretly recording conversations between the team's coaches and players, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Sources said Erman, who was coach Mark Jackson's second assistant, would record coaches' meetings, meetings between the coaches and players, and informal discussions among coaches that took place in the team's coaches room -- all without the participants' knowledge.
"He was taping everything," one source said. "Taping pregame speeches wouldn't have been that bad, but he was taping guys just sitting around talking in the coaches' office."
Sometimes Erman would be present during the tapings. Other times, he would leave the room and leave his phone behind to record conversations the other coaches were having.
It is unclear what Erman did with the recordings. The sources weren't sure whether he shared them with the club's owners or front-office executives.
"Was he taping it for himself or was he taping it for management? That's not known," a source said. "But he had a lot of communication with members of the front office."
Meanwhile, Erman has landed on his feet in Boston, where he will be the Celtics' NBA director of scouting, general manager Danny Ainge told Yahoo! Sports.
The Warriors' other coaches began noticing a change in Erman's demeanor and behavior in March, a source said. A few weeks later, they discovered that he was recording them. After being caught, Erman told the club he had been recording the conversations for three weeks. Jackson kept Erman on his staff for another week before Warriors' management fired him on April 5.
The Warriors released a statement Tuesday afternoon standing by their earlier reason for Erman's dismissal.
"As previously stated, Darren Erman was terminated due to a violation of company policy. We were unaware of the violation, and when made aware, we took immediate action. We will have no further comment at this time."
Erman's dismissal was the second bizarre event involving Jackson's staff in less than two weeks. On March 25, management demoted first-year assistant Brian Scalabrine to the club's D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
Sources say the team made the move because Scalabrine exhibited a consistent pattern of disrespect toward Jackson and the other coaches. Mainly, he ignored and refused to speak with the other basketball coaches. At one point, Scalabrine went five weeks without speaking to Jackson, one source said.
Scalabrine even avoided the coaches on the team plane, sitting in a separate section, according to one source.
The odd behavior of Erman and Scalabrine is emblematic of the dysfunction that has recently engulfed the Warriors franchise. Although he led the Warriors to 51 wins this season and consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 22 years, Jackson's job is widely rumored to be in jeopardy.
One source insists that Jackson's relationship with owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers is fine, which makes his shaky job status hard to understand.
3dEthan Sherwood Strauss
4dMatt Walks, ESPN.com