November 16, 2009
Would you look at this! A deal in which everyone involved deserves what they get.
I shouldn't say that. Raja Bell's(notes) a hard worker, he's playing through an injury when he doesn't have to, and he came from nothing and turned himself into a name that even Charles Barkley would recognize. He doesn't deserve the Golden State Warriors. Nobody does. I mean that.
Stephen Jackson(notes) barely deserved the Golden State Warriors, and he's a me-first dope who signs a giant contract extension he didn't earn with a crummy team, and then complains when the team continues to be crummy, though his checks are certain to remain consistent. This is more or less who I'm after.
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.
Jax was sent to the Bobcats with Acie Law IV(notes) (the guy that worked hard) for Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) (the guy who has hit just a third of shots this year). Jackson has long wanted away from the NBA's most dysfunctional franchise, and the Warriors were more than happy to receive pennies for someone who might be the NBA's most overrated dollar.
Honestly, Jackson's a ridiculous waste of a 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame. He's only been good on teams that allow him to play massive minutes, dominate the ball and take heaps of shots. Teams like the last two Golden State Warrior outfits, ones that allowed him to pump up his superficial stats by leaving the ball in his mitts for huge gobs of minutes on a team that averaged the most possessions per game in the NBA.
Jackson should be able to continue that nonsense, to a certain extent, on the Bobcats. Charlotte is the worst offensive team in the NBA by far, and though coach Larry Brown abhors 3-pointers (Jackson has averaged about 5 1/2 per game over the last three years), he does understand that an idiotic, lazy and selfish flat-footed Jackson heave from 25 feet might be his team's most efficient shot most times down court. That's how absolutely awful the Bobcats are on that end of the floor.
So Jackson, who has never been about anything else besides money (why else would he haggle with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in 2003?), should be happy. For a spell. Then he'll get sick of being carped out by Brown, and the Bobcats will start actively looking to deal him by February. They probably won't be successful, nobody's as pathetic and as desperate as the Bobcats (save for, of course, the Warriors), which means there's no team to trade down to, but Charlotte will try.
(The one exception? Charlotte could be looking to flip Jackson after rehabilitating his image and stats, and get something out of Cleveland. And if Cleveland is willing to exchange expiring contracts for someone like Jackson, then Danny Ferry might as well include himself in the deal, because he'd deserve to be Charlotte Bobcat GM for life if such a transaction transpired.)
Despite the "crap-we-average-82.4-points-per-game-and-we're-not-in-the NCAA" influence, the deal just makes absolutely no sense for Charlotte. The only good recent byproduct of the team's hope of changing ownership hands came in the way the franchise decided to stop taking terrible contracts. Like, for instance, Radmanovic's. Or, to a lesser extent, Bell's or Boris Diaw's.(notes)
But the Bobcats are now on the hook to pay Jackson more than $10 million in 2013 when he's 35. And you know what? They deserve to. They deserve to, not only for making this moronic deal, but for putting themselves in a position where it actually makes sense, in 12 seconds out of a 60-second minute, to wonder if trading pennies on the dollar for someone like Stephen Jackson is worth it.
And Jackson will play well. He'll take stupid shots, but he'll revel in being the man again, and he might top 20 points a game even if he doesn't play as many minutes, and even if Larry Brown has the Bobcats working at a super-slow pace. He's the ex-boyfriend who cheated, was dumped, joined a gym, shaved that stupid beard and stopped playing video games for six months long enough to make it look as if he wasn't a mug. Don't worry, he is.
It would be a mirage. Stephen Jackson's always been Stephen Jackson. He's still the guy asking to eat popcorn for dinner right before the game starts, to the bewilderment of the ballboy who knows better, even though the ballboy isn't old enough to have learner's permit rights yet.
So have fun with the new professionals you get to [uptick?] around, Don Nelson. And have fun in Charlotte, Captain Jack, where nobody notices a 3-point heave with 23 seconds leave on the clock if it doesn't a make a sound. In spite of Charlotte's insufferable public-address announcer.
Jackson begged for, hoped for, demanded and welcomed this hell. This Bobcat hell. And this tells you all you need to know about Stephen Jackson, and everything you need to understand about Don Nelson.
Such a deal.