NEW YORK (AP) - Stephen Jackson dropped onto a bench next to Warriors teammate Acie Law and pulled out his cell phone, checking to see if anybody had left a message during practice.
Maybe someone granting his wish to be traded.
No such luck. The disgruntled swingman was left in limbo for another day.
"A lot of people ask me the same questions about the trade and
stuff," said Jackson, who asked to be dealt in August and whose
relationship with Golden State has become strained. "It gets
redundant to me, but I deal with it."
Warriors coach Don Nelson said the team has been trying to
unload Jackson, but it hasn't been easy finding a trade partner.
The forward has a troubled history, and the three-year, $28 million extension that he signed last November could cause problems for teams trying to clear salary cap space for next year's bumper crop of free agents.
It's made for an uncomfortable situation in the Golden State
locker room, where teammates have said their fragile chemistry can't withstand Jackson's polarizing presence.
"People want to pan me out to be the bad guy," Jackson told
The Associated Press. "People want me to be somebody to point the finger at and say, 'He ain't doing this, or he's not humble, or
he's not doing this.' I just want to win.
"A lot of people think just because you play basketball, you
make a lot of money, you just bite your tongue and be the bigger person. That's not me," he added. "I've been this way since I got in the league and before I got in the league, all my life, so there's no reason for me to change now, for money or for any other reason."
Jackson has caused trouble for teams in the past, including that
30-game suspension while with Indiana for his role in the infamous brawl in Detroit, where Ron Artest went into the stands. He also served a suspension shortly after being traded to Golden State because of some legal problems.
Things seemed to get better with the Warriors, though, as
Jackson helped a losing franchise end a 13-year postseason drought in 2007. Golden State barely missed the playoffs the following year, winning 48 games - the most by a non-playoff NBA team in a quarter-century.
Jackson was even named captain before last season, although
everything began to unravel shortly afterward. The Warriors trudged to a 29-53 finish, and Jackson had surgery in March to remove bone spurs that had caused him problems for several years.
Then came his trade demand, a sideline blowup with Nelson during an exhibition game that cost Jackson a two-game suspension and approximately $139,000 in salary, and a meeting with general manager Larry Riley in which he relinquished his captain title.
"The off-the-court stuff doesn't affect basketball. It shouldn't," Jackson said. "There's nobody talking about contracts and stuff on the court, so it shouldn't affect the game."
The Warriors (2-5) have shown flashes of brilliance, like a 146-105 drubbing of Minnesota on Monday night, but have struggled to find consistency as they integrate a plethora of youngsters with Jackson and a handful of veterans.
Nelson pointed to team chemistry as a major issue, and acknowledged that Jackson's situation "probably" has something to do with it.
"If you ever want to be any good, you have to have good chemistry," Nelson said. "The coach can help, if the players are
Jackson's agent, Mark Stevens, criticized Nelson's coaching
ability earlier this week and said he's pushing for a trade. Until
that happens, the player formerly known as "Captain Jack" is at
the center of what appears to be a one-man mutiny.
"It's a lot of things that have snowballed, but you can't make
excuses," Jackson said. "You can't bring the outside stuff to the
court, because that's where you're free from all of it. I know me,
personally, none of the outside stuff ever affects my game."