Sports agency Interperformances announced today that it has added Stephen Jackson to its list of clients. While no reason was provided for the change, I speculated that perhaps Jackson was disappointed in the ability of his previous reps at Relativity Sports to secure him an NBA job for this season.
Jackson, 35, was last seen appearing in 55 games for the 2012/13 Spurs, a team that eventually came within a miracle Ray Allen three-pointer of winning the NBA Finals. It’s hard to argue that Jackson played a huge role in San Antonio’s success. Not only were his averages of 6.2 PPG and an 8.0 PER his worst in over a decade, but the team also released him during the last week of the regular season, replacing him with Tracy McGrady for the postseason.
Still, one of the league’s best teams made Jackson a part of its rotation for the majority of the season. Despite his declining numbers, that seems to suggest the veteran small forward has something left in the tank, so it’d be a little surprising not to see him return to the NBA at some point.
In Jackson’s case, of course, his availability can probably be attributed less to his talent than to his strong personality and his unrealistic expectations. Reports that surfaced following his release from San Antonio suggested Jackson was unable to admit that players like Manu Ginobili and Danny Green were better than him. Although he may have been humbled by the experience, it’s still hard to imagine Jackson accepting a non-guaranteed, minimum salary contract, which may be the most an NBA team is willing to offer right now.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein predicted earlier this week that Jackson will be back in the NBA, since teams are more inclined to roll the dice on veterans who have extensive playoff experience and the ability to be difference-makers. It wouldn’t surprise me if Stein is right, but on the other hand, we recently saw a player like Michael Redd slip quietly into retirement. Even though Redd was more efficient in 2011/12 than Jackson was last season, the longtime Buck was unable to land another NBA contract.
What do you think? Will we see Jackson in the NBA this season?