Stephen Jackson addresses release from Spurs for first time

USA TODAY Sports

Nearly two months after being released by the Spurs, Stephen Jackson opened up about his departure and underlying issues with coach Gregg Popovich.

Watching from a distance as his old teammates prepare to take on the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, former San Antonio Spurs forward Stephen Jackson talked about his mid-April departure from the team to Buck Harvey of the San Antonio News-Express.

After refusing to discuss the reasons why San Antonio felt compelled to release him just weeks before the end of the season, Jackson revealed Tuesday significant discord with coach Gregg Popovich. The issue? Jackson struggled to deal with being a lesser player than Manu Ginobili and Danny Green.

With Popovich consistently giving more playing time to Ginobili and Green as Jackson struggled most of the season, the veteran wing grappled with the reality that he wasn't one of the top wings on the roster. He described the "mind games" played by Pop, an unusual criticism of a coach known for straight-shooting.

After a discussion with the coach confirmed his place on the roster, Jackson says he let loose an angry reaction, which led Pop to ultimately release him. On Wednesday, Jackson admitted the release, "was best for me so I wouldn't go crazy," and "I wouldn't want me on the team, either."

Having experienced a tumultuous parting from San Antonio once already -- after the Spurs' title in 2003 -- Jackson says he's fully comfortable with his current place. He shook his head when told being a good soldier and sticking with the Western Conference champions might have been a better plan.

He couldn't explain why he feels that way, but noted a belief that things work out for a reason. Considering how the Spurs have played so far this postseason, I imagine they feel the same way about it.

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