ESPN’s Mark Stein checked in late last night with more on the Stephen Jackson rumors, cautioning that while Golden State’s definitely looking to move him, they’re in no rush to do so. But what about all the Cleveland rumors?
- Cleveland … continues to be nominated by executives around the league as the most likely destination for Jackson. Yet we must again pass along the disclaimer that obstacles to a Cavs-Warriors swap remain, even if Cleveland’s 0-2 start has put LeBron James and his overhauled supporting cast on a path toward desperate faster than anyone imagined.
- Sources say that both LeBron and Shaq — although they have no plans to say so publicly – like the idea of acquiring Jackson. But Cleveland’s reluctance to part with Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his $11.5 million expiring contract in the exchange, which would make the Cavs smaller as a team and strip them of their O’Neal injury insurance, has been well chronicled.
- If the Warriors were willing to package Ronny Turiaf along with Jackson or planning to waive Ilgauskas after they got him – potentially setting up Big Z to rejoin the Cavs after a 30-day wait as seen last season with Antonio McDyess – Cleveland’s perspective would presumably change. Every signal I’m getting, though, suggests that Golden State would be amenable to neither of those scenarios.
- So, either another team (or two) must be recruited to help facilitate a Jackson-to-Cleveland swap. Or that deal depends on the early season discomfort in Cleveland or Golden State reaching the point that it causes one of the teams involved to amend their current stance.
So as while we said yesterday a deal would make sense for both sides, it appears one of those sides will have to get just a bit more desperate before we see something get done. And if Cleveland’s reaction in light of last night’s loss is any indication, that may happen sooner rather than later.
As for the other teams thrown out as possible destinations, New Orleans was mentioned, as well as the Clippers, and the always mysterious “other teams with serious interest in Jackson that have yet to be identified.” So there's that, too, I guess.