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Stephen Jackson Open To Finishing Career With Spurs

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Posted June 17, 2012 - 12:33 PM

Gregg Popovich Told Stephen Jackson No Extension Talks Prior To Trade

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Column by Buck Harvey

Some were shocked last week when a Spur was caught in the crossfire of a bottle-throwing fight.

The stunner: It was Tony Parker in the New York club, not Stephen Jackson.

Jackson has made a habit of being at the intersection of wrong place, wrong time. And had he been in New York, partying at Parker’s side, bottles would have likely flown in the other direction, too.

But San Antonio saw none of that the past few months after Jackson returned to the Spurs as the prodigal rapper. He was happy, content, even professional.

So what happens next, when Jackson’s serenity is tested? What happens when he returns next season without the contract extension he’d always wanted?

Gregg Popovich might already have solved this with a simple phone call.

By all appearances, Jackson was a man at peace last season. When he didn’t play, he didn’t object; when he did, he played hard. He brought toughness to the floor and humor to the locker room.

The final image of Jackson might have been his best, when he tossed in six 3-pointers in Game 6 at Oklahoma City. “I’m having fun!” he screamed in the second quarter, but he could have been talking about every day since the March 15 trade.

Later, after he was called for a technical foul, and Popovich had screamed at him, Jackson defended himself but took responsibility.

“It was wrong on my part,” he said, “but it was just my emotions.”

But that’s Jackson. His emotions sometimes run too deep, often fueled by a need for loyalty and respect. When he doesn’t get that in return, he becomes a problem.

A year after signing an extension with the Warriors, he asked for a trade. A year after landing in Charlotte, he sought another contract extension. It was a primary reason the Bobcats sent him to Milwaukee.

Then, a year ago, after a formal press conference at the ?Bradley Center, Jackson said he intended to discuss a contract extension with Bucks officials, too.

When asked how important a contract extension was for him, Jackson told reporters: “It’s mandatory.”

The way he reacted early last season suggested the unsolved issue had stuck with him, and that led to the trade. Nothing has changed contractually for him since, with approximately $10 million he’s due next season on the last year of his contract.

Now, he likely wonders this: What kind of contract will he get when he’s a 35-year-old bench player?

The Spurs won’t give him an extension. There’s no reason to lock up someone of that age and stature. It’s business. Besides, Tim Duncan played this past season on the last year of his contract.

Still, Jackson has been headstrong before. And that’s why what happened in the minutes before the March trade mattered last season and matters now. Then, Jackson was readying to board a Delta flight in Minneapolis, heading to join the Warriors, when the Spurs called.

Popovich told Jackson they were close to completing a deal for him. Popovich didn’t tell Jackson this: The phone call, in part, was to make sure they didn’t hear anything crazy.

So Popovich laid out his priorities. He told Jackson he wanted his toughness, and there could be minutes for him. But Popovich also told him he liked Kawhi Leonard as his small forward, and nothing would be guaranteed.

Then, Popovich said something else. “We’re not talking about an extension.”

This is the power of clarity and honesty. Popovich does it as well as anyone, and it’s a reason Jackson has said Popovich connects with him better than any other coach has.

It’s a reason Jackson responded so well last season. And if Jackson is the same next year, don’t be stunned by something else.

Jackson might get another contract in 2013.

Twitter: @Buck_SA


Edited by LALakersFan4Life, August 25, 2012 - 02:39 PM.

#2 LALakersFan4Life


    16 Time NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers!

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Posted August 25, 2012 - 02:42 PM

Stephen Jackson Open To Finishing Career With Spurs

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Kurt Helin
Aug 23, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

Stephen Jackson has not had what one would call a settled NBA career — a dozen years, seven NBA cities. Three and a half seasons in Golden State is the longest he has spent with any one team.

At age 34 he is entering his second season on his second stint with the San Antonio Spurs. In an ideal world Jackson would like this to be the last stop in his career, he told the Beaumont Enterprise. But he knows that may not be the case.

“If things work out in San Antonio I wouldn’t mind finishing my career there. But you know it’s a business and I’m one of those guys that doesn’t mind going to play somewhere else.”

Jackson doesn’t have a lot of years left in the league. Last year he only played in 21 games for the Spurs, and he gave them 8.9 points per game but on just 40.5 percent shooting when he got on the court. And that was really better than the previous couple years, because Gregg Popovich gets the most out of him. This would be a fitting place to finish out his career because of just that.

By the way, note to the Beaumont Enterprise: Keeping most of the interview for the print edition of the publication? Because that is going to drive sales at newsracks? How very 1990s of you. Other papers have tried that idea, I’ll save you the trouble, it doesn’t really work.


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