The Los Angeles Clippers have added yet another veteran to their roster. As announced on Monday, the team has agreed to terms with seasoned wing Stephen Jackson, last seen being cut by the San Antonio Spurs days before their run through the 2013 postseason. Terms were not immediately made public, although we will update as soon as they're made available.
Over 13 seasons with seven teams (including two stints with the Spurs), Jackson has proven to be effective and frustrating in equal measure. The Clippers, with a respected head coach in Doc Rivers, veteran leaders, and a depleted group of players on the wing, need any contributions that Jackson can provide.
Jackson teased the signing on Instagram Monday afternoon with an image and message:
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times later confirmed the agreement on Twitter with a nod to Rivers:
Doc Rivers say Clips agreed to deal with Stephen Jackson. Jackson will join team in Boston Tuesday
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) December 9, 2013
It's easy to see why the Clips think Jackson can contribute. After injuries to Matt Barnes (torn retina), J.J. Redick (broken hand and elbow ligament damage), and rookie Reggie Bullock (ankle sprain), the Clippers are perhaps asking too much of perimeter players Jared Dudley, Jamal Crawford, and Willie Green. At the very least, Jackson will provide needed depth. In a best-case scenario, he'll serve as a capable depender, a valuable if streaky shooter, and yet another veteran who commands the respect of his peers.
Unfortunately, Jackson is also well known as someone who lets his emotions get the better of him. Apart from the forever-outlying case of 2004's Malice in the Palace brawl, Jackson has consistently ranked among the NBA's technical foul leaders throughout his career. When discipline isn't an issue, he still can be prone to bad decisions (although, when hot, he hits extremely contested three-pointers with startling regularity). The Clippers are at a point where they needed any wing help they can get, but we can't pretend that Jackson isn't a gamble.
Of course, the biggest problem might be that, at 35 years old, Jackson's best days are well behind him. Averaging 19.5 minutes in 55 games for the Spurs last season, Jackson managed a PER of just 8.0, far below an average mark of 15. While he would figure to see the court rarely when Barnes and Reddick return to action, Jackson playing major minutes would signal other issues for the Clippers.
In the end, Jackson's level of importance to the Clippers is likely lower than his level of fame among basketball fans. This signing should matter most over the next few weeks as L.A. requires wing depth. It figures to affect playoff seeding more than the postseason itself.
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