It's Friday in the NBA offseason lull, which means wacky things can happen. Like the captain of the Golden State Warriors saying he wants out of the team, pronto. Captain Jack is abandoning ship.
On Friday afternoon, Dime Magazine was in attendance at a block party charity event hosted by sneaker company Protege. Also in attendance were Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington. At one point Jackson was handed the mic, and, well... Dime?
"One of the MCs at the event asked Stack Jack in front of the crowd whether he thought the Warriors were going to make the playoffs. Jackson paused then smiled before responding, "Um...I don't think I'll be a Warrior next year. I'm looking to leave.""Well, then. Jax went on to confirm his intentions in an interview, saying, understandably, that he wants to compete for a championship at his age. He listed the teams in Texas, Cleveland, and, completely outside of that contenders list he was talking about, New York, since he's buds with Al Harrington, who was essentially standing a few feet away.
This certainly does throw a wrinkle in things. Jackson's not a Brandan Wright you can just stuff in a closet if he's unhappy. He's valuable as a player, a leader, a veteran, and you can't really bully him without real consequences.
Additionally, with the addition of Stephen Curry to go along side Monta Ellis, the Warriors have a full backcourt. And since half of the team is made up of athletic wing forwards who can run the floor and shoot, Jackson is also expendable for the right price. Usually in these types of situations, capable veterans who are expendable are limited by character issues. But Jackson, while certainly possessing his fair share of skeletons in his closet, has emerged as a reliable locker room leader the last few years.
If Jackson is to be believed, the ball is now squarely in Golden State's court; when asked in the follow-up interview if he had alerted Golden State about his desires, he responded "Yeah, they all know." This story, at least on its surface, seems to have little wiggle room for Jackson or Golden State, but then, it's the NBA, so all currency is snake oil. However, one thing's clear: there's trouble brewing with the Dubs.
The Warriors have an opportunity with Jackson to do the right thing and provide a talented player who has served them well with an opportunity for that ring he wants so badly. It could benefit them, as well, if they get the right deal, allowing them to dump salary (which ownership may or may not want depending on who you ask in preparation for a sale that may or may not happen) and possibly get back some pieces they need. Preferably someone, anyone, anyone at all, who can defend. The question is whether Don Nelson will let this happen. The Warriors have been talking a big game about the youth movement in Golden State. It's time to put their captain where their mouth is.