The opinions are flying in on the Stephen Jackson trade, and it shouldn't be too surprising that most people don't like this trade considering the two organizations that are involved.
Yahoo! Sports' Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie goes as far to say that Jackson, the Bobcats and the Warriors "deserved" the end result of the trade.
Jackson deserves to be exiled on a team like the Charlotte Bobcats. And the Golden State Warriors deserve to pick up a player who can only dribble with one (healthy) hand and a load who has only hit a third of his shots this season in return for someone who averaged nearly 21 points and seven assists last season, along with one of the few players that seemed to want to work hard for Golden State in its first nine games.
Dwyer then rips into Jackson, calling Jackson "a ridiculous waste of a 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame" and sharply criticizes the Bobcats for taking on yet another bad contract even though their ownership situation is a mess.
ESPN's John Hollinger, on the other hand, saves most of his criticism for the Warriors for accepting the Bobcats' deal instead of a proposed offer from the Cavaliers.
What makes this even worse is that it appears Golden State took the second-best offer on the table. Multiple league sources told me the Cavaliers were ready to move ahead with a deal featuring a signed-and-traded Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and perhaps some ancillary flotsam in return for Jackson, a deal that would have been visibly superior to the Charlotte deal from both a cap-management and talent perspective.
Let's run through the math. Bell is a productive player -- but at a much lower level than Jackson -- and is on the final year of his contract, making the primary benefit of the deal for Golden State the fact it clears $9.2 million in cap space in 2011. The Warriors are now a potential player in that year's free-agent market, depending on future moves.
But they could have cleared even more cap space with Cleveland's offer. Such a deal would have given the Warriors full, immediate relief from Jackson's deal after the season once they waived West (whose contract isn't guaranteed for next year) and Szczerbiak (whose contract wouldn't be guaranteed beyond this year in a sign-and-trade).
Such an arrangement would also have given the Warriors two major assets in the "confederate money" of non-guaranteed contracts. They had the alternative of pursuing a big fish in a trade with those deals at the trade deadline, especially since acquiring West and Szczerbiak at this early juncture meant both players would have been eligible for inclusion in package deals by February.
However, the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami, who has been masterfully chronicling the dysfunction of the Warriors for years now, disagrees with Hollinger.
The big-picture particulars: Larry Riley and Don Nelson did better on this deal than almost anybody in the NBA expected. I kept hearing that teams wanted the Warriors to give up real talent or picks in order to move a pain like SJax.
They didn’t do that. They washed their hands of Jackson relatively cheaply. It took weeks. It was obvious they had to trade him back before training camp started. It soured everything this season.
They finally did it.
So, now someone has to defend this trade for Charlotte in some way, right? TrueHoop's Henry Abbott steps up to the plate and attempts to do so, saying that "crazier things have worked."
In addition to Gerald Wallace, Tyson Chander and the surprisingly effective Nazr Mohammed, the Bobcats roster boasts a collection of players who can both create off the dribble and shoot. Raymond Felton, D.J. Augustin, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw ... Assuming Augustin emerges from his Larry Brown-induced shell, these are players who make opponents pay with shooting should they clog the lane. Perhaps they'll hit enough shots to convince defenders to chase shooters all over the floor, instead of sagging into the lane.
The Bobcats could start to look a bit like those various Ben Gordon teams -- the Bulls who almost knocked off the Celtics in last year's playoffs, or this year's Pistons, who have shown signs of proving doubters wrong this year.
If you can get defenders spread all over, leaving tons of room in the middle of the floor, the list of players who can put the ball on the floor to beat one man, and then get to the rim and score is long. That's what got a lot of these players to the NBA.
Stephen Jackson can be part of a team like that.
It's an admirable effort, but something about calling Nazr Mohammed, Raymond Felton, D.J. Augustin and Boris Diaw "players who can both create off the dribble and shoot" doesn't exactly sit right with me. Not when Felton and Augustin are shooting 35.7% and 35.1%, respectively. If those guys indeed could "create off the dribble and shoot," the Bobcats probably wouldn't have the worst offense in the league.