Which Team Is the Best Fit for Stephen Jackson?

Brad Frank@brfrank9Correspondent IAugust 29, 2009

DALLAS - JANUARY 28:  Stephen Jackson #1 of the Golden State Warriors during play against the Dallas Mavericks on January 28, 2008 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Golden State guard Stephen Jackson has indicated that he wants to be a traded to a contender. Jackson hired an agent recently to set his wish in motion.

Jackson said he'd like to play for Cleveland or any of the three NBA teams in Texas.

In tough economic times, not every team is a position to take a chance on him. But that's not to say teams won't take a chance, either.

So, which team is the best fit for him? Let's take a look.

We'll start with Cleveland. Most experts would probably say that Cleveland's roster is set for this season and that Cleveland would have to more than it's willing to bring Jackson aboard.

Cleveland was fortunate to sign Leon Powe to a minimum contract, so it's highly unlikely that the Cavaliers can assume Jackson's contract, even though this would be done by trade.

Jackson signed a three-year, $28 million extension last season and is scheduled to make just over $7 million this season.

What about San Antonio?

Jackson, 31, would join the team with the second-highest average player age. (Dallas is first.) 

These two teams would not get any younger by bringing in Jackson, unless they could unload a couple veterans who are older than Jackson.

Strategically, acquiring Jackson doesn't make sense for San Antonio because he's a scorer by nature. With Tony Parker increasing his scoring aptitude, with Manu Ginobili coming off the bench as a pure scorer, and with Tim Duncan providing nearly 20 points per game routinely, Jackson's strength isn't necessarily a need for the Spurs.

I have to rule out the Spurs at this point.

Back to Dallas. Jackson would certainly be a better fit here than with Cleveland or San Antonio.

Obviously, Dirk Nowitzki is the Mavs' premier scorer, with Jason Terry and Josh Howard providing the secondary firepower.

But Terry and Howard aren't tremendously consistent—they're streaky. Perhaps Jackson could stabilize the backcourt for Dallas with some consistency at the starting shooting guard position.

Dallas would love to unload a bad contract—namely the contract of Erick Dampier—in order to bring in a veteran scorer like Jackson.

Courtesy of ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, the following trade would work: Dallas trades Dampier and Shawne Williams to Golden State for Jackson and Speedy Claxton.

This works for Dallas because it unloads the hefty Dampier contract, while Jackson is a clear upgrade over Williams.

Golden State has a much more manageable payroll than Dallas, so it can afford to assume Dampier's contract for two years. Plus, Golden State is a bit too loaded at point guard, so moving Claxton could free some playing time for rookie Stephen Curry.

Maybe the only way to counterargue the above proposed trade would be to say that Dallas is left without anyone who is capable of being a legitimate starting center.

Lastly, would Houston be a good fit for Jackson? I think so.

This works for two reasons. First, Jackson and Tracy McGrady would give the Rockets a lethal backcourt scoring duo. Second, Jackson would be one heck of an insurance policy for McGrady in case he continues to struggle with injury.

Houston is a bit younger compared to most teams. Thus, Jackson could provide some needed veteran leadership while buying some time for younger players to progress.

Houston is in a worse situation payroll-wise than Golden State. A trade to assume a large contract like Jackson's may not work out.

But you can't deny how much Jackson would help the Rockets become one of the best backcourts in the NBA with him, Aaron Brooks, McGrady, Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza.

If Golden State is willing to take a hit financially after trading Jackson, Houston has some nice young pieces which could add to the Warriors' nucleus for the future.

In review, Cleveland and San Antonio are set with their teams this season. Plus, they're not as able financially to consider a trade for Jackson.

Dallas and Houston appear to be good fits, though Houston is handcuffed financially more so than Dallas.

If the Warriors comply with Jackson's trade demands, they'd likely suffer a blow financially for the immediate future in order to do so.


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