After recurring disagreements with the team about his diminishing role, the San Antonio Spurs released forward Stephen Jackson on the cusp of the playoffs, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Spurs had threatened the release for several days, but Jackson was still surprised that coach Gregg Popovich carried through with it on Friday, sources said.
Jackson, 34, isn't eligible to be included on a playoff roster if he's claimed off waivers or becomes a free agent after 48 hours.
Popovich and Spurs general manager R.C. Buford had worked out issues with Jackson as far back as the trade deadline, and one source says the organization even offered to release Jackson and let him go elsewhere, if that was his wish.
Nevertheless, disagreements over Jackson's role resurfaced in recent days, and the Spurs believed that Jackson had started to have a negative impact on the team's younger players. Within the Spurs, the organization didn't believe Jackson was playing well enough to bring him into the playoffs under these circumstances, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Spurs' depth has taken a severe hit with the loss of Jackson, as well as Boris Diaw needing three to four weeks to recover after having surgery to remove a cyst from his lumbar spine.
In his second tour with Spurs, Jackson played a pivotal part in their run to the Western Conference finals a year ago. Still, those who knew Jackson believed that his desire for a contract extension in the final year of his agreement could bring tension to this season.
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