Q: “Can the Warriors live with Stephen Jackson for the whole season? He’s been producing on the court, but even with the little time he’s had with the Warriors. He’s been a big distraction. How many outbursts has he had and cost the team a win? That’s even after he has been trying to keep himself under control for the playoff push. I’m not even talking about the off-court issues. I just can’t imagine him playing 82 games without being a distraction. His value right now is as high as ever. W’s should look to trade him in the offseason. Gerald Wallace can be a good fit for the W’s. He’s a free agent, I think. He’s a slasher, a pretty good defender, and he doesn’t shoot 3s, which is good. Jackson and the rights to this year’s draft pick for Wallace and their draft pick (Noah or Wright?). Will charlotte go for it?”
A: Handling Jackson is a tougher task when you add it to dealing with Baron’s propensity for injury. But the alternatives aren’t aplenty. First off, Jackson is making $6.12 million this year. He’ll get $6.6 next year. How many players out there can you get who are as good at that price? Usually, 16.5 points and 4.7 assists costs you much more than that. A player with those numbers who is also a defensive stopper and a strong locker room presence is definitely more expensive.
Usually, getting good talent at a good price comes with a catch. Either it’s a young player who you have to be patient with and deal with his growing pains. Or it’s a player with off-court or attitude issues that you have to nuture and coddle. Or it’s an injury prone player who you have to do without for stretches.
Sometimes, you live with the risk to get the reward. Gerald Wallace would be perfect (If you can find a second player to create for others, because the loss of Jackson would leave Baron alone in that department. Again.). But he’s going to have to pass on $6 million next season to become a free agent. Why would he do that? Because he is expecting more than $6 million. Charlotte wouldn’t go for it anyway. They would be giving up the better player (I’m assuming they’ll think he’s better than Jackson; they at least think it’s a tie) and the higher pick. I don’t think they would do that.
Unless it’s a steal of a trade, I think the Warriors are better off keeping Jackson at that price and hope he keeps himself under control. It will more than likely take two players to bring what Jackson brings (defense, creating, distributing, locker room presence, scoring threat, championship experience) — and that would cost a lot more than $6 million.