Al Harrington

Groundhog Day: Stephen Jackson wants off the Warriors

Now Stephen Jackson wants out. That’s right, Jackson doesn’t want to be a Warrior anymore, because they (gasp) aren’t championship contenders. Even though the Warriors gave Jackson an obscenely massive and completely unnecessary extension and allow him to shoot threes whenever and wherever he likes, Jackson wants to go to Cleveland, some team in Texas or the Knicks.

(Cue the sound of a record abruptly stopping)

The Knicks? A contending team? Oh-kaayyyyy…

Yes, Jackson was hanging out at Protege party in New York with Al Harrington (which may explain how the Knicks suddenly became a winning team in Jackson’s eyes), and told Dime Magazine he wants out. Marcus Thompson confirms this. This is what happens when you run your team in a moronic fashion — players talk to each other and decide to do anything they can to plunge your franchise even further into the abyss. And what better way to do that than publicly demand a trade, thereby removing what little trade value you and your nonsensical contract had in the first place.

When the going gets tough, Jackson gets peer-pressured by Harrington into declaring he’d rather be a role player on a team with superstars than the leader of the young Warriors. And while the comments don’t reveal strong character, they show that Jackson isn’t as delusional about his own standing in the league as he is whenever a referee declares he fouled someone.

Jackson isn’t an alpha dog, and this public trade demand proves he knows this as well as the rest of us. He’s also 31, and coming off an injury-plagued season. The thought of going all out in a push to drive the Warriors to a .500 record while playing 44 mpg sounds about as tempting to Jackson as a kick in the nuts from Paul Millsap.

Robert Rowell probably feels like he just got his bells rung, after giving Chris Mullin the stiff arm at the beginning of last season and extending Jackson for some unknown reason (Jackson’s work with charities? Simply to f— with Mullin? Really, does anyone have any idea?). Now R-squared and Larry Riley Don Nelson either have to convince Jackson that he won’t have to play more minutes than Allen Iverson did as a Sixer, or prepare to work out a trade with a contending team (or the Knicks) for another flawed player with the same type of crippling contract Jackson has.

Sound familiar? Al Harrington for Jamal Crawford, anyone? Jamal Crawford for a steaming pile of Hawks point guards?

If I ran the Warriors, I’d do all I could to make sure whomever the Warriors get for Jackson (assuming they grant Jackson’s wish and trade him soon) is at least five years younger than Stack. Then I get a young coach, and prepare for another two or three years (or more) of patience. No established star wants to be a Warrior. Hell, no established role player wants to be a Warrior, as Jackson’s interview yesterday proved. The Warriors won’t be a contender for at least a few years, with or without Jackson (as he himself stated).

Golden State’s only strength is a young nucleus that could be something. Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Ant Randolph, Stephen Curry, Brandan Wright, Anthony Morrow, Ronny Turiaf — they’re all young and worth keeping. Maybe grab a young player with upside who’s been a relative disappointment relative to his contract, put him with that nucleus and see what a coach under 50 (perhaps someone who, I don’t know, actually has some energy and doesn’t hold grudges to the extent Nellie clearly does), and see what happens.

But we all know what the Warriors are going to do: convince Jackson to stay (mostly because the teams he wants to go to either would be impossible to consummate a trade with for anybody, let alone a youngish player with talent), then trade him mid-season for another veteran headcase. Lather, rinse, repeat. It only gets worse for the Warriors by the month, it seems. How much longer until the majority of this loyal fanbase washes its hands of this team?

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