NBA AM: Time To Trade Stephen Jackson?
Its Time To Move Jackson: To say Stephen Jackson didn’t want to be a Milwaukee Buck is likely too harsh. But the truth of the matter is Jackson was not happy when the Charlotte Bobcats traded him to the Bucks on draft day and while he tried to put a good face on the situation things between Jackson and the Bucks have been on a downward spiral for some time and it’s become clear the Bucks need to make a trade.
Jackson was asked this week about his relationship with head coach Scott Skiles and Jackson’s response was that he didn’t have one.
“We don’t have no relationship like I’ve had with other coaches and I don’t expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened,” said Jackson.
Sources close to the process say that Skiles and Jackson have had numerous run-ins mainly around Jackson’s lack of professionalism and more importantly his negative impact on younger players.
Jackson is averaging 21.6 minutes per game in February after losing his starters spot to Shaun Livingston and has not taken the demotion well.
Jackson is owed $9.2 million this season and has one more year worth $10.05 million left on his deal.
League sources peg Jackson as available in trade, but openly question whether any serious teams would take on Jackson given the money owed and his temperament as of late.
Jackson has been adamant that he wants a contract extension which is what got him traded from Charlotte in the first place.
It’s clear the situation in Milwaukee is near the breaking point, the question is can Milwaukee trade him for anything of value?
J.R. Smith Picks New York: Free agent guard J.R. Smith has confirmed to HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy that he is indeed closing in on a deal with the New York Knicks.
Smith was romanced by more than a dozen teams, but in the end Smith chose the Knicks.
J.R. is still waiting for his FIBA letter of clearance, which is simply a formality at this point. Once he is cleared to sign, he will ink a prorated one-year deal worth roughly $2 million using the Knicks “room exception” worth $2.5 million.
Smith’s agent Leon Rose was in New York on Wednesday finalizing the details of the agreement.
The Knicks are expected to cut veteran guard Mike Bibby from the roster to make room for Smith, who could join the team before the All-Star break.
The Knicks are currently 15-15 on the season and are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference after winning seven straight games and eight of their last ten.
The Knicks have five games on the schedule before the All-Star break including four straight home games. The Hornets are on tap tonight. The Mavericks arrive on Sunday. The Nets get another shot at the Knicks on Monday, before the Hawks and HEAT arrive on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
In a best case scenario Smith could be in a Knick uniform by Wednesday.
Sources close to the process say Smith was actively courted by a number of players from a number of teams, but ultimately joining the Knicks was viewed as the best combination of money, exposure and playing time.
Lin and Cole Added To Rookie Sophomore: In a smart move yesterday the NBA added Knicks’ guard Jeremy Lin and HEAT guard Norris Cole to the Rising Stars Challenge rosters.
Fans and media outlets alike were clamoring for the addition of Lin to the All-Star festivities next weekend in Orlando. The rookie-sophomore game typically features nine players from each class, the addition of Lin and Cole rounds out the number to ten players each which actually makes more sense with five man rosters.
The NBA in trying to generate more fan interest in the Rising Stars Challenge altered the roster format this year, allowing TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal to hand pick teams playground-style.
The draft was held last night and yielded a few surprises – two top overall picks were taken #1 in this draft with Shaquille taking 2009 top pick Blake Griffin first, Charles Barkley taking 2011 top pick Kyrie Irving with his first pick.
Jeremy Lin was the third player selected with the second pick by Shaquille, while Barkley chose DeMarcus Cousins fourth overall.
The other notable moves were that 2011’s fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson was taken last by Shaquille. The 2nd overall pick in 2010 Evan Turner was selected last in the Rising Stars Challenge draft.
The Rising Stars Challenge will take place Friday February 24th in Orlando.
Gasol Trying To Stay Positive: Lakers’ forward Pau Gasol will turn 32 this July. He’s owed $18.7 million this year and has two more contract years worth $19 million and $19.28 million respectively and his team is floundering in the middle of the pack in the West.
There is not a lot of security for a player in Gasol’s situation. He has heard the rumors. He sees the situation unfolding, yet there is nothing the 7 foot Spainiard can do but wait out the process.
“It’s out of my hands. It is what it is. I’d like to be here,” Gasol said to Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I’d like to make this team better and get back to a championship level, but it’s not up to me.”
League sources say the Lakers are trying to add players to the core they have in town without sending out major assets like Gasol, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that if the Lakers want to move out of the middle, trading Gasol may be their only option.
Gasol says he has no idea what’s in store for him and that’s he’s trying to not let the rumors and uncertainty effect his game.
“I’m not sure. I can’t tell,” said Gasol. “I wish I knew, so it would give me some peace, or more peace, but I don’t know.”
“Every day I tell myself, try to let it go. Don’t think about it. Have fun, be the player you are out there,” he said. “That’s all that you can do.”
The Lakers have been linked to dozens of trade scenarios, but league sources say the Lakers do not appear close to anything on the trade market.
The March 15th NBA trade deadline is 27 days away, so the Lakers have plenty of time to make a deal, however its clear that the daily speculation is taking its toll on Gasol mentally and for everyone in LA a little closure on the uncertainty would be welcomed.
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