Handle With Care: Here's Your 'High-Maintenance' Starting Five
Less than 10 months after receiving a three-year contract extension worth approximately $27 million, Stephen Jackson now says he doesn't want to play for the Warriors anymore.
It's a pretty sudden turn for Jackson, who said at the time of the re-signing that he wanted to play the remainder of his career in Oakland. That kind of fickleness, when it comes from your captain and best player, can be a real headache for a team.
It got us to thinking about some of the NBA's high-maintenance players, the needy and delicate ones you must handle with extreme care. Whether it's their personality or game, here are five players who can make it very difficult for any franchise.
Ron Artest: His talent is undeniable, but you still need to walk on eggshells around him. At his best, he is among the league's best perimeter defenders and a terrific third option on offense. But he makes teammates edgy and his erratic nature is always a concern. So is his penchant for going beyond his means offensively.
Allen Iverson: He is a certain Hall-of-Famer and one of the toughest players to ever play the game. But that doesn't mean Iverson has been easy to play with over the years. He's always had a tendency to leave teammates out for long stretches then be overly demanding when finally giving them a shot. Recently, playing alongside Iverson has gotten even trickier. His skills are declining, but he doesn't want his role to.
Stephen Jackson: He can dominate the ball and the locker room, which isn't the worst thing in the world when things are going well. But sometimes they don't, like when he's shooting 40 percent from the floor and turning the ball over entirely too much.
Shaquille O'Neal: A few years back, we wouldn't have dreamed of putting O'Neal on this list. A more inclusive superstar you couldn't find. But things have changed and so has O'Neal's game. These days, O'Neal just never seems to be involved enough ... at least according to O'Neal.
Tracy McGrady: It got to the point last season where Houston was better without McGrady simply because it was more used to doing it that way. McGrady is too integral a part of the Rockets' offense to play a couple, skip a few, play another one or two, then miss another handful. He's got to be in or out, and quite frankly, it's legitimate to wonder if he'll ever be in for a full season again.
(Sixth man) Baron Davis: Something tells me Davis is going to have a nice 2009-10. Of course we know he had a pretty awful 2008-09 for a variety of reasons. That's why he had to get on this list.
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