Spurned Stephen Jackson Still Longs for Spurs

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Last year, the Spurs spurned Stephen Jackson's demands for a big contract, making him what he felt was a lowball offer, which he rejected out of principle and became a free agent. Unfortunately his free agency contract with the Hawks was at an even lower price, but now Jackson is looking to opt out of his contract, become a free agent again, and start his advances with the team that rejected him in the first place. Stephen Jackson wants to be a Spur again.

This past year was a career year for Jackson as he looked to prove his worth to the league, and particularly to a small market town in Texas, as he essentially lived by the motto, "Hell hath no fury like a player spurned". He led the Hawks in scoring with 18.1 points per game. He was sixth in the league with 1.78 steals per game and seventh with 142 total steals. He both attempted and made a lot of three pointers, ranking in the top 15 in both categories after shooting 34 percent from downtown. He also averaged a career-high 3.1 assists per game (and a career-high 2.8 turnovers per game).

Last season, he showed the world his versatility and his worth. Now he is looking to become a free agent yet again.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reportedly mentioned a desire to get a another shooter this offseason, and with the potential departures of both Bruce Bowen and Hedo Turkoglu, the Spurs could consider reuniting with Jackson as well.

Last year, the Spurs offered Jackson $10 million over three years, a deal he rejected as he looked to get more money and more years. He ended up signing a two-year deal with Atlanta for $2.1 million, with his option to become a free agent again this offseason.

It will be interesting to see what offer the Spurs make now.

It will be unfortunate to the Hawks to lose their leading scorer. But he joins a long list of players not expected to be back in what was last year's most volatile roster.

The Hawks Basketball Camp is right around the corner. It is for boys and girls aged 8-17 and will be held July 19-23 at Philips Arena. Click herefor more details.


Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observerwrites: Several NBA sources confirm that Bickerstaff is aggressively pursuing the No. 2 pick owned by the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bobcats' primary competition in those trade discussions is the Atlanta Hawks.If the Bobcats move up, they'd likely draft Atlanta prep star Dwight Howard, assuming that Connecticut center Emeka Okafor goes No. 1 to Orlando.

Kori Ellis of writes: In an interview with the Port Arthur News, Stephen Jackson said of his future plans, "Hopefully be back in San Antonio".Jackson, who played for the Spurs Championship team in 2003, spent the last season playing for the Atlanta Hawks where he averaged 18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Patrick Kinahan ofThe Salt Lake Tribuewrites: Travis Hansen and Britton Johnsen both are working out in Utah to get ready for separate summer leagues. Hansen, drafted last June in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks, expects to play for his team in the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City.