It's become crystal clear the Milwaukee Bucks and Stephen Jackson aren't on the same page, which means the team must deal the veteran swingman before the trade deadline. Milwaukee's young roster doesn't need a potential distraction during the playoff chase.
The Associated Press reported details of the suddenly sticky situation:
"I'm supporting my teammates the way that I've always been," Jackson said Monday. "I'm going to respect the coaches, I'm going to respect everybody around. But at the end of the day, everybody knows I want to play. That's not a secret."
Jackson wouldn't say if he had requested a trade.
This is one of those times when his silence about the subject says everything. Even though he's always been described as a good teammate, the one thing he demands is playing time. When it's inconsistent like it has been lately, he isn't going to be happy.
Jackson is averaging just 12 points and three rebounds through 20 games, which represents his worst season in nearly a decade. Although his move to Milwaukee seemed like a nice fit before the season began, things just haven't worked out like everybody involved hoped.
Despite the lack of contributions from Jackson, the Bucks still find themselves holding the Eastern Conference's eighth seed as the midway point nears.
If they are going to make a run toward the postseason, the last thing Milwaukee needs is a disgruntled Jackson sulking on the bench. If head coach Scott Skiles doesn't see him as a major piece, he should be moved to a team where he'll play a more prominent role.
That would benefit both sides.
Jackson can seek out teams where he could be guaranteed a starting spot or at least significant minutes off the bench. He would love to win another championship, and that isn't going to happen with the Bucks as the team is currently constructed.
It would also allow Milwaukee to get more players involved while putting out a potential fire before it has a chance to grow. Jackson isn't going to make or break their chances anyway, so it's not worth taking any risks.
There's only about a month until deadline day, so the Bucks should start exploring all their options to make sure something gets done and everybody remains happy.