It's been a rough few weeks for the Bucks, who've lost Andrew Bogut for most of the season with a broken ankle and now must deal with doubt surrounding Brandon Jennings' future plans. Plus, there's been debate about whether Stephen Jackson has or hasn't demanded a trade. For the record, Bucks GM John Hammond is declining comment on the issue. Suffice it to say, with Jackson's playing time in flux, there's plenty to suggest Captain Jack will soon be shipping out of Wisconsin.
Jackson, for the moment, seems to have found his way back into the Bucks rotation after Scott Skiles elected not to play him in four out of five games. That doesn't include the one-game suspension he received after missing the team bus. He admitted frustration with his lack of playing time, which isn't uncharacteristic. His tenure in Milwaukee seemed destined for trouble from the start, when the Bucks acquired Jackson from the Bobcats at the draft last year. Jackson said the trade took him by surprise, and insisted the Bucks extend his contract before tamping down his rhetoric.
Jackson is not the most attractive asset for the Bucks to dangle at this point in his career. He turns 34 in April, and his 12.4 PPG is his lowest since 2002/03, when he was a part-time starter for a title-winning Spurs team. That's due in part to his decreased playing time, but his rate of points per 36 minutes (14.5) is way down, too. His contract, which pays him $9,256,500 this year and $10,059,750 next season, makes him that much more difficult for the Bucks to unload. It's that long-ago experience with the Spurs, in addition to leadership roles on surprising playoff teams in Golden State and Charlotte, that may convince GMs he's worth still worth taking on.
Dwight Howard has apparently indicated he'd like to have Jackson as a teammate, so that could point to interest from the Magic, who sought Jackson on draft night before the Bucks got him. That means the Nets, Mavericks, Lakers and any other team that's in on the D12 sweepstakes could be after Jackson as well. The Nets, who say they don't want to sign anyone else this year, haven't closed the door on trading for another player, and with recent signee Keith Bogans done for the year, there's an opening for a swingman that Jackson could fill.
The Bulls, who haven't been mentioned in Jackson rumors but are one of the teams linked to Howard, present an intriguing scenario. Jackson could provide insurance if Luol Deng's wrist doesn't hold up and/or Richard Hamilton fails to round into shape. Jackson's contract would mean the Bulls would have to part with some of their depth and young assets, but if they're concerned about having a second scoring option after Derrick Rose and want to woo Howard, they may bite.