NBA PM: Bucks Trading Stephen Jackson?
Stephen Jackson was supposed to make an immediate impact in Milwaukee. He was going to provide leadership, which the Bucks have lacked in recent years, and contribute on both ends of the court. Twenty games into the season, that hasn’t been the case.
Jackson has been suspended for two games – once for skipping shootaround and once for verbally abusing an official – and he was benched in Milwaukee’s win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday. In the three games that Jackson has missed, the Bucks are 3-0.
Shaun Livingston has been moved into the starting lineup, and Bucks head coach Scott Skiles doesn’t see his rotation changing anytime soon.
“We’re game-by-game with basically everything we’re doing now,” Skiles said. “Different guys are finishing the game on certain nights. We’ll see. We’re playing pretty well right now so I’m going to make the best decisions I can to stick with what’s working.”
Jackson was initially frustrated with the organization because they wouldn’t extend his contract. Now, the 33-year-old is also unhappy with his role.
“I ain’t surprised,” Jackson said of being benched. “They know how I feel. It ain’t no secret. Everybody knows the situation. I’m going to cheer the team on and do what I’ve got to do. My situation is going to get better soon. But until then I’m going to support these guys and continue to collect my check.”
Sources close to the situation say that Jackson hasn’t demanded a trade, but he has made it clear that he’s frustrated with the situation. The Bucks could look to move him before March 15 because they aren’t paying him $9,260,000 this season to sit on the bench.
Even after this failed experiment in Milwaukee, there are still teams that are willing to trade for Jackson.
The Orlando Magic tried to acquire Jackson on draft night, but Milwaukee had more to offer. Dwight Howard has made it clear to Magic general manager Otis Smith that he’d like to play with Jackson. Several contenders may also pursue Jackson depending on Milwaukee’s asking price.
As the trade deadline approaches next month, Jackson is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Granger Believes Pacers Can Contend: The Indiana Pacers have been surprisingly good this season. They currently hold the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 14-6 record, despite playing 13 of their first 19 games on the road. After enduring five straight losing seasons, Danny Granger is excited about the team’s progress and believes they’re ready to contend.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Granger told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a lot of fun to win and it’s a lot of fun to be one of the top teams right now. We’re playing together and I think that’s the biggest thing. We have so much talent. We drafted talent and made trades so we’re in position to where we can really contend in the East. We’re all having a lot of fun.”
Indiana hasn’t lost two games in a row all season, which is very impressive given their schedule. They have road wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.
“I think that’s the sign of a really good team,” Granger said. “After every loss, we’ve said that we don’t want to lose two in a row.”
Granger said that the biggest difference this season is that the Pacers expect to win every game when they walk into the arena. They’re more confident than ever and believe they can beat anyone.
“Honestly, it wasn’t like that in recent years,” Granger said. “We kind of went in to games hoping to win. This year, we have the ability, the team and the talent to go in and win those games and we’re doing it. We’ve won games in Los Angeles which is hard to win in, we’ve won games in Chicago which is really hard to win in, not to mention Orlando. Those are all top teams in the East and West, so that’s definitely a focus for us.”
While the team has come together and played extremely well, Granger gives a lot of the credit to head coach Frank Vogel. He has been extremely optimistic and has the team believing that the sky is the limit. He has also made a few adjustments that made things easier for the team.
“A lot of it is coaching,” Granger said. “He simplified the offense, dumbed it down a little bit and we’ve become really efficient at what we do. It’s helping us win.”
Indiana is one of the youngest teams in the league. When weighted for minutes, they have the eighth-youngest roster in the NBA. The Pacers are competitive now, but the ceiling is still very high for this team.
“The best is yet to come,” Granger said with a smile. “We’re young, we’re still growing and we’ve got a lot of years to go.”
Nets Sign Bogans: With MarShon Brooks sidelined indefinitely, the New Jersey Nets have decided to sign Keith Bogans. Nets general manager Billy King announced the addition on Wednesday afternoon.
“Keith will give us defensive toughness and experience,” King said. “He will add depth and versatility to our perimeter.”
Bogans was waived by the Chicago Bulls last month, even though he started every game for them during the regular season and playoffs. Last year, the eight-year NBA veteran averaged 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.8 minutes per game.
In order to sign Bogans, the Nets had to waive Larry Owens.
NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats on the schedule today. Kicking things off will be salary cap guru Larry Coon who will host his chat starting at 3 p.m. EST. Submit a question for Larry here. Next up, Lang Greene will be hosting his weekly chat at 8 p.m. EST. Feel free to drop him a line on anything NBA related. You can always find our upcoming chats HERE.