Can Stephen Jackson Make a Career Comeback?
Despite a lengthy career of steady production, teams not only have found Stephen Jackson expendable, but one has actually found him to be disposable.
The San Antonio Spurs recently cut ties with the veteran swingman just a week before the playoffs.
And by cut ties, I don't mean traded for something in return. They dropped Jackson like third-period French after considering him deadweight for the postseason.
You would have expected Jackson to be a part of any run at a title, but disagreements over his role led Gregg Popovich to remove Jackson from the roster.
Clearly, there's something about his dominant personality that doesn't work for everybody. Jackson has been in the league since 2000 and has never played three full consecutive seasons with the same team.
Most will see the glass half-empty here, being that no team has felt inclined to make a longer-term investment in Jackson.
But I'm going to look on the brighter side.
For every team that doesn't want him, there's always one that does.
At this point in his career, he's a temporary fix.
The San Antonio Spurs actively went out and traded for Jackson last year. Through 14 postseason games with them, Jackson made 26 three-pointers at a ridiculous 60.5 percent clip while providing stout perimeter defense and toughness that can't be taught.
He's been there and done it before, and that's what drives his value.
For the right price, Jackson's skill set and experience could be used by a number of teams looking to make a playoff push.
Would you take Stephen Jackson on your team for a playoff run?
But there will be a team next year, whether it's during the summer or midseason, that will decide it needs a reliable shot-maker and veteran presence to help build its rotation's on-court credibility. Jackson might have his personality issues off the floor, but the reliability he offers on it is worth a lineup spot with an inexperienced, cash-strapped or undermanned roster.
The big-money offers won't be rolling in. When a guy like J.R. Smith, a victim of the new collective bargaining agreement, is making less than $3 million a year, Jackson won't end up commanding anything more than a one- or two-year deal.
As long as he accepts this, there will be a role for his services in the NBA next season.
There are just certain egos that don't mesh well with others. And Jackson has an ego, like everybody else. He's just one of the few willing to risk his job for what he feels his role should be.
A coach who's willing to adjust and communicate with Jackson, particularly before any deal is signed, will be the right man for the match. And I just have a feeling that there will be a coach out there willing (or desperate enough) to put aside Jackson's personality flaws and focus on his basketball strengths.
If someone was willing to sign Rasheed Wallace after two years out of the league, you can bet on someone showing interest in Jackson for the right price.
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