Cavs Looking at Stephen Jackson?

AOL’s Tom Ziller weighed in late last week with a look at the Jackson situation, and offered a reality check:

After the Warriors arrived to the new millennium seven years late in knocking off the Mavericks, the dismantling began. Golden State got out from under Jason Richardson’s overpriced but not obscene deal by shuffling the wing to Charlotte for Brandan Wright (a player Don Nelson has squelched almost completely). After one of the best non-playoff seasons in NBA history the following year — a year capped off by Nelson benching Baron Davis in a big game for allegedly partying late the night before — Warriors president Robert Rowell nixed an extension general manager Chris Mullin had worked out with Davis, the soul of the team. Davis responded by skirting off for Los Angeles unexpectedly. The Warriors spent the money that would have went to Davis on Corey Maggette and Ronny Turiaf. While Davis stunk in L.A., he had not stunk previously in Golden State, which runs a system more suited to his style.

In all this shuffling, Jackson somehow became the most important Warrior. So Rowell gave him a three-year extension which doesn’t even go into effect until next summer, and which contributes to the more than $35 million owed on Jackson’s contract. Jackson is currently 31 years old.

The loss of Davis combined with a bizarre injury to Monta Ellis sent the Warriors to the dregs, and sent Jackson over the edge. His issue is that Golden State hasn’t traded for a dominant big man, therefore the Warriors do not want to win, therefore he wants out. In his conversations with Spears, Jackson doesn’t seem to understand he himself has made it impossible to be traded, between his contract, his shoddy performance, and his attitude. He’s still trying to convince the world of his worth, telling Spears “there aren’t many players that play on both ends and average 20 points” and that he’s “rare.”

Jackson is certainly rare, but not for the reasons he thinks. He’s the rare top dog who is basically completely ineffective.

From there, Ziller outlines six (six!) Warriors players that surpass Jackson in value. In other words, for all the pomp of his trade demands, Jackson’s outsized reputation is far greater than his actual value to Golden State. Nonetheless, he’s still the type of player that can help a good team…

As a third option in Cleveland, perhaps? Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports:

You have not heard the last of the Stephen Jackson trade rumors involving the Cavs.

According to sources, the Cavs do have an interest in Jackson and have had some internal discussions about trading for him. He is a quality perimeter defender and has championship experience with the San Antonio Spurs. With strong team leaders and Mike Brown, who is close to Jackson and coached him in two different stops, there is a belief the Cavs could harness his good qualities and suppress his bad ones that he’s been showing in an effort to get out of Golden State.

However, right now there is no trade that works between the Cavs and Warriors. Golden State wants a big man, as they should because they need one. The Cavs don’t want to give one up. For the time being, expect the Cavs to track the developments and watch out things play out both in Cleveland and in the Bay Area. One issue that may not be a huge hang-up is Jackson’s contract, which has three years after this one. That is a red flag to many teams but the Cavs may be willing to swallow it under certain conditions. Stay tuned.

Stay tuned, indeed. If the Cavaliers were to trade for Stephen Jackson, it’d be a move subject to all sorts of skepticism, but also one that’s completely consistent with the way they’ve been doing business the past few years. Basically, the Cavs want to win, they want to win now, and they’re willing to forsake longterm financial flexibility in order to do it. Stephen Jackson would be the latest in a long line of marginal talents that on whom the Cavs have taken an expensive flier, all in the hopes of winning a title, and presumably hanging on to their prodigal son, Lebron.

They’re going to build King James a castle in Cleveland, yet—even it’s built on a flawed, expensive foundation.

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