Baron Davis once called Stephen Jackson the "sickest rapper" that he knows. Without the benefit of musical accompaniment, and provoked by Davis, Jackson challenges that statement with this freestyle performance, successfully demonstrating that rapping without music or rhyming equals rambling.
Specifically, for Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, and the #28 pick.
The cost of trading for Stephen Jackson must be weighted against two things - the abilities of Stephen Jackson himself, and the cost of the alternatives. There is no point paying out the arse for Stephen Jackson in a trade, when signing one of the aforementioned players - arbitrarily, let's say Arron Afflalo - would cost you no assets in trade and would also not cost as much salary. The player obtained in the latter scenario would not be as good, but they may be only slightly worse than Jackson. Is it better to have Affalo, Brewer and the 28, or just Jackson? Indeed. Or maybe a rebuilding Jazz team would happily gift an aging Raja Bell. A combination of any number of hypotheticals could return similar for less. And thus not much in the way of basketball assets can be traded.
The hypothetical attraction for Charlotte lies in the salary savings. Everything previously stated about the reduced ability to spend is just as true of Charlotte as it is of anyone. Stephen Jackson is not a bad contract, but he is a big one, and twice in recent months has that been sufficient reason for them to trade a starter. In exchange for Tyson Chandler, they got nothing but luxury tax relief; in exchange for Gerald Wallace, they got salary relief, a backup small forward, and two not particularly good first round picks.
You could argue that, having already done this twice, they don't need to do it a third time. But I would counter that by highlighting the fact that this team sold for the equivalent of $25 million as recently as last year, and then recorded the perfectly useless figure of 34 wins the season after. If you're going to lose, therefore, lose cheaply and properly.
[...] As for Jackson himself, he fits rather snugly into what the Bulls do. Jackson is a good, big, interested and versatile defender, a description guaranteed to wet Tom Thibodeau's palate.24 He can handle and pass to above average standards for a wing player, which the Bulls could certainly use, even if he should do slightly less of the former. And he's a good-enough shooter; at the very least, he's as good as Keith Bogans, albeit with slightly less judicious selection.
The Bulls need a wing player who defends his position well, can handle the ball, make shots, and double as a secondary playmaker. They also need a wingman who, if called upon, can consistently take and make his own shot in a halfcourt set, particularly in clutch situations. Since precisely four players alive fit that mold, they'll have to settle for the flawed but helpful Jackson. Jackson's history of randomly beating up fans and randomly firing guns into the air outside of strip clubs is certainly a sticking point - the Bulls don't often like to get their hands dirty, which is why they won't touch Delonte West, despite how neatly of a fit he is into their current guise. However, seemingly every player or coach to have ever worked with Jackson has loved him, for his passion, spirit, and his out-and-out desire. The reprehensibly douchey things that he did can be overlooked if every other box is ticked. The Bulls prioritise "jib," but that doesn't mean they are criminal-free.
[Stephen Jackson was a Bull once before, for a week. True story. He signed for 1998/99 training camp - which was actually held in January 1999 - but broke his foot and was released. Here we are, twelve years on, and the man has become a good quality, healthy, NBA player. And it only took two trips to the Dominican Republic to do it.]
Ric Bucher kicks the night off with the announcement of a three team trade between Charlotte, Sacramento and Milwaukee, one which highlights the futility of ever trying to predict trades. [No one alive predicted this. No one even predicted the framework of it.] Bucher tells of how Charlotte will trade Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the #19 pick to Milwaukee, in exchange for Corey Maggette from Milwaukee and the #7 pick from Sacramento, thereby ending my own Stephen Jackson-based aspirations.
The trade also includes John Salmons and the #10 pick being sent from Milwaukee to Sacramento, in addition to Beno Udrih going the other way, thereby making the deal from the Kings perspective a swap of Salmons for Udrih, and a trading down of three spots. Salmons was a King between July 2006 and February 2009, when he was traded to Chicago along with Brad Miller in exchange for Andres Nocioni's lengthy contract, Drew Gooden's expiring contract, and some peripheries. Sacramento's motivation to deal was to save short term money by taking on long term money. They then did the opposite, taking on short term money to open up long term cap space, when they traded Nocioni and Spencer Hawes last summer for Samuel Dalembert. And now they have used that cap space.......on John Salmons. It is, needless to say, a baffling trade, and one that could have been avoided had the Kings done more than 5 seconds of Googling and checked to see if Salmons had gotten much worse since he left.
The rest of the deal is fairly simple to comprehend. Charlotte moves up big by giving up two decent but excess guards, and accelerates a long moribund rebuilding process. Milwaukee beings the long process of undoing their own expensive mistakes, gaining some contributors in the process. But as for Sacramento........what was the point? What was the aim? What does this deal hope to achieve? The answers get no clearer throughout the evening.
(Stephen Jackson is reported to be unhappy about being traded to Milwaukee. Him and a thousand others. Wait until the day comes that he's traded to somewhere where he's not allowed to wear a headband. It's going to kick off.)
[...] The Warriors also agreed (and, surely, did not desire) to take Stephen Jackson back in the deal. This brings full-circle a strange saga that only Stephen Jackson could complete. When previously a Warrior, Jackson signed a highly generous three-year extension, then almost immediately demanded out. He got suspended, then got his way, got traded to the moribund Bobcats, and then got traded again to Milwaukee. He again demanded an extension, this time didn’t get it, again demanded a trade, and again got benched on account of his attitude. Throughout all this, he has continued to age, and his skills have eroded away. By this time, he is no longer starting caliber, but he doesn’t seem to know this. Hopefully, the Warriors do.
[...] And this is probably a good thing. Of the 106 players from 2008, 31 of them had an average salary for the duration of between $3 million and $9.3 million, and only two of them (Ben Gordon and Robert Swift) were one year deals. Included in there were four years deals for the likes of Eduardo Najera ($12 million) and James Posey ($25,020,800), five-year deals for the likes of Ryan Gomes ($21,175,000) and Daniel Gibson ($20,054,000) and oversized three-years deals for the likes of Sasha Vujacic ($15 million) and Stephen Jackson ($27,769,500). Of those players, only Gomes has ever received another deal and is still in the league, an unguaranteed minimum salary one with OKC. You know your contract was too long when the player never gets another one afterwards.
L.A. Clippers - Maalik Wayns and Stephen Jackson: Wayns's contract was due to be guaranteed on December 1st, but the date was seemingly revised after Wayns's injury that has caused him to miss the whole season to date (players on unguaranteed contracts that are hurt in the course of team related activities are paid until they are healthy again). Healthy again, Wayns now seems unlikely to make the cut, in light of the Clipper's luxury tax position. The same position factors into the decision on Jackson, and his worryingly poor play since his midseason call-up compounds the problem.
In the past four NBA seasons, there have been 208 occasions on which a player has scored 40 or more points - regular season and playoffs combined. Fifty-seven players have combined for those 208 outbursts, including such unlikely names such as Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and C.J. Miles.
Most of the players are stars, or were stars at the time. Many still are. But some of those players have fallen from this intermittent grace so badly that they now only earn the minimum salary.
Despite their proven potency, Nick Young, Al Harrington, Anthony Morrow, Aaron Brooks and Michael Beasley are now earning as little as a player can - in the case of Beasley, not one dollar of this minimum is even guaranteed. This was agreed to less than three calendar years from his 42-point game, quite the backwards progression.
Four others, however, haven't even got that much to show. Four players who scored 40 or more points in an NBA game over the past four years aren't in the NBA any more.
Two are injury related - Brandon Roy and Gilbert Arenas. Roy has retired, twice, due to his debilitating knee troubles, while Arenas is a mere fraction of the player he was. He doesn't need to officially retire from the NBA - he simply wasn't good enough to stay in it any more, and fell out of it before the age of 30.
One is attitude related. Stephen Jackson had himself a fine spot as a role player on a team that came within one fluke occurrence of winning the NBA championship, but he wanted more and ruined it all. He is now out of the league - at the age of 35, with steady years of several decline behind him, and possibly his strongest bridge burned, Jackson will be very lucky to make it back.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.