Jackson done for year

Just a few quick notes before tonight’s game at the Pepsi Center.

Stephen Jackson will have season-ending surgery on his left big toe on Tuesday in Houston to remove bone fragments. The operation will be performed by Rockets team doctor Thomas Clanton. The rehab schedule for Jackson, one of seven Warriors out of action tonight, will be determined after the surgery.

As expected, Jamal Crawford will play tonight after being out of action for the last six games.

As mentioned yesterday, Brandan Wright is out tonight with a sore left shoulder, the same shoulder that he seperated against the Lakers on Jan. 7. He hurt it against the Spurs and played with it against the Mavs. Wright will have it looked at once the team returns to Oakland and talking to him before the game, Wright said there is no clear timetable for his return. It appears he and the team aren’t looking to rush things.

Not much else to update right now. I’ll post something after the game.

- Curtis Pashelka


And then there were eight…

Hey everyone. Just filling in for Marcus while he begins his five-day “vacation.” Of course, he went ahead and broke all kinds of rules with a blog post this morning. Just shows his level of dedication. 

Many of you probably saw this Stephen Jackson video yesterday on hoopshype.com, where he basically said that it’s time to ”shut it down and get (his toe fracture) fixed” and begin the process of getting ready for next season. According to a Warriors’ spokesperson, Jackson is seeing a specialist today. An update on how that appointment went may be forthcoming later on.

Corey Maggette (head contusion) has returned to the Bay Area, joining Andris Biedrins and Marco Belinelli. Brandan Wright (left shoulder pain) will not play against the Nuggets on Saturday. The team also reported Friday morning that Jermareo Davidson had successful surgery to repair the stress fracture in his left foot. He’ll be immobilized for the next month.

In case you’re counting, that leaves eight players available for Saturday’s game (Azubuike, Crawford, Ellis, Kurz, Morrow, Randolph, Turiaf, Watson). Should be a great time.


Stephen Jackson – Stay or Go?

Debuting a new feature here. The Warriors are going to take inventory this offseason, see what moves they need to make and how they can get better. Over the next few weeks, we are going to do some evaluating ourselves. Here is your chance to give them your opinion (yes, they do read this blog). I will make the best case I can as to why a player should stay or go this offseason. Then you sound off.
Who better to start with than Stephen Jackson.

Thanks due to Tony.psd for the hot graphic


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Team Drama At It Again

The Al Harrington situation just turned another page. After playing just 16 minutes and scoring four points, coach Don Nelson threw Harrington under the bus. A question from S.F.’s Janny Hu started this brush fire, though all she did was ask about Brandan Wright. The result was Nellie vomiting his thoughts about Harrington:

Did Brandan earn himself more playing time?

“Well, absolutely. I think two things are going on here. Al wants to be traded, I think everyone knows that, and we would like to oblige him. We’d like to get a good player for him. He’s playing like he’s unhappy and I kind of feel for the guy because he doesn’t want to be here and it’s probably very difficult to really gear it up and play up to his ability.”

“I made a deal with him that I was going to play him as many minutes as he would want and I would have kept that word. But when he surprised me with going public with wanting to be traded, it’s made it pretty difficult for me and everybody else.”

“And he hasn’t been playing well to go along with it, so we might as well start making the change now. I think the people in the league know he’s a good player and know that if there’s a trade to be made there, we’ll make it. But our front line is young and some of the guys are on the bench a lot, but Brandan is ready to play more. So I’m going to play him, and I hope I’m not breaking my word. But I’ve kind of been forced to change the way I was going to go about the playing time with Al.”

“I thought there was going to be so many minutes between the four and the three that I didn’t have to worry about it. But if he’s not going to be here anyway in the future, we might as well start to think about bringing some of these younger guys along.”

“Now I’m only going to bring the guys along that are ready to play in an NBA game, so don’t get me wrong. And as I said before the game, Brandan is ready. I’ve held him back a few games where he probably should have played, but I think it’s to the point now where he needs to grow into his position and he’s going to be a member of our team and Al isn’t. So we have to face reality and go from there.”

Sounds like you really need to trade him now?

“I think Al will be traded, but we’ve got to wait until we get the right deal for him. But in the meantime, I have to bring his replacement along. I don’t know what kind of player we’re going to receive for him. It could be any position from one to five. We just want a good player in return.”

Do you feel you need to wait to see what Monta can bring when he comes back? Do you feel like you need to wait on trading Al to see what Monta can bring?

“We’ve told Al, and I told him this summer that as soon as we get a good player for him, I would trade him. I didn’t want it to go public, I thought it would be just between the two of us. But he made it public, I didn’t.”

“And so here I’m stuck in a situation where I don’t have a great team anyway, but I have a disgruntled player that I was going to play probably 40 minutes a night. And so I can’t keep my word on that anymore. We have to do what we have to do, we’ll wait until we get a good player. We’re not going to wholesale and all of a sudden just get rid of him, because he is a talented player and we’re going to have to receive something for him. But anyway, that will happen, Mully’s been working on it and when he finds the right thing that’s good for our team, that will happen.”

Exactly. Wow. So, Brandan Wright is in, Al Harrington is out. Sounds like Nellie’s going to cut Al’s minutes drastically until he is traded (inactive?). Is this a smart move by the Warriors? By Nellie? Or was Al killing his stock anyway with his last few games?
Anyway. So, of course, we went straight to Al:

Nellie said he’s going to give Brandan Wright your minutes?

“I’m a B-Wright fan. As long as he plays well, I’m happy for him. As far as me, whatever happens is what happens. I can’t control it. If just because of one game, that means he’s got to bench me, he’s got to do what he’s got to do.”

“As far as what coach said, I don’t care. If he wants to trade me, he can trade me. I’m not a contract that can’t be moved.”

He said you were disgruntled.

“Who am I disgruntled to? If you ask any of my teammates, I don’t say anything about being traded. I’m always about the team. … If I’m disgruntled, I don’t know who I’ve been talking to (about it).”

Is controversy over your trade request getting to you?

“It’s not like anobody’s shooting a great percentage. I had two rough shooting nights. I feel like tonight I didn’t have a chance to get into the flow or whatever. We went to the bench, the bench was a huge lift. Night’s like that, you’ve got to take your hat off to them and let them guys rock. They did a great job. I don’t know. Whatever is my future is my future. But when I’m playing in the game, I’m going to play as hard as I can.”

Then I went to ask Stephen Jackson what he thinks about the seemingly inevitable break-up between Harrington and Nelson. Harrington is one of his best friends. And Jackson is in awe of Don Nelson. I didn’t think he would talk. I thought he would duck the question or whatever. But Jax didn’t. He was candid, as usual:

Nellie said, pretty much, he’s done with Al. How do you feel about that?

“That hurts me. I love coach and I’m going to always love coach and respect what he says and he does because he is the coach and he knows more about coaching than me. I love Al. I’m going to be hurt to have to see him go. I can’t explain my feelings about this. It hurts. I just wish everything would work out and everybody get along, man. I don’t want to see him go. That’s my personal opinion.”

Can their relationship be repaired, or is it time to move on?

“Anything’s possible. Like I said, I really can’t speak on what’s going on or what’s going to happen. I just know how I feel about Al as a friend and as a brother and I know how I respect coach and what he does. I’m kind of torn. I’m in the middle. It’s just, It’s just, I don’t know. I’m at a loss for words about it.”

Can this team handle all this drama?

“Anytime there’s a cloud around things, if it’s not just about basketball, obviously it’s going to bother people. But it’s a business. Things happen. You go through injuries. You go through ups and downs. You go through trades. I think the biggest thing for us is we’ve got to be professional about it and regardless of what’s going on, we’ve still got to come and play and win games. That’s where we’ve got to keep our heads at.”

Can you carry this team in this environment, or is being “torn” hampering your ability to lead this team?

“It’s not as much can I. I have to. That’s how I look at it. Like I said, I love Al. Al’s like my brother, my blood brother. And, like I said, what coach has done for me and my career, it’s explainable. Like I said, I really don’t know. I love both of them and I respect both of their positions.”


Monta: Unplugged (Kinda)

I’m baaaaaack. For a little while, anyway. Thought I’d get things going again with Monta’s first interview since rejoining the time.

Photo courtesy of Matt Steinmetz

What’s it like to be back with the team?
I see everybody’s progress. I see how they’re practicing, see what we got coming in this season and I’m just excited to be here to support my team.

What’s the toughest thing about not being able to be out there?
It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’m here in spirit and anything I can do to help them, I’m here for it.

You ever been through anything like this?
I have but, you know, whatever it is, it is. You just got to move forward now.

How long did it take you to get used to your new friend there?
Not long. (Laughs)

Did you pick that color?
Nah, he just gave it to me. (Laughs)

Going to put some rims on it?
Nahhh, I’m just going to get some spray paint and spray paint the spokes.

How do you think you’ll recover?
I’m recovering great. Everything’s going good right now and we just have to wait it out.

Can you put any pressure on it yet?
No, not at this moment there isn’t.

What’s going to keep you mentally coming back early and pushing it too hard?
I really do but at the same time it’s a process and we got 82 games and you know, just take it day by day and hopefully I get back out there soon. I’m going to take my time and make sure I’m 100% before I jump back out and then have to sit back out by coming back too quick. So it’s, it’s really just play it by mouth.

What’s your role now while your out? What are you going to bring to the team?
Whatever it is. Leadership, good spirits, lifting players up who are down, just give them what I see being on the sideline.

Did you wanna get back here for media day?
It’s kind of hard, when your trying to get on a plane with a cast and you’re trying to fly from Mississippi and change over so, that’s what it was. I wanted to be he’re but I’m just glad to be back and be my team support ‘em and move forward.

How’s you relationship with the team? How has it grown through this?
It’s been great. Everybody’s being on task, everybody stayed in contact, everybody’s on the same page, everybody wants to get past this. You know, they want me back on the court but at the same time they want me to be 100 percent. So it’s been good. They’ve been supportive and that’s what I needed and that’s why the process is going the way it’s going, so smoothly. They’ve been terrific.

Why not come out and say something?
We’ll address it next week when my agent speak with the team and till then I want to tell you, but you just have to wait it out and see what they say and when it’s time for me to address it then ill address it.

What will you be like after this?
Um, I can’t predict three years from now, but I could say that in three years, it’ll be way beyond 100 percent . That’s all I could say.

Are your doctors telling you that you can fully recover?
It’s going to be 100 percent. It’s just going to be playing it by mouth.

You have a reputation for being a fast healer. Does that make you more confident?
With this type of injury and what I had to go through, it will probably take a little bit longer and really cause you not to come back too son. I’ve never dealt with it but like I said the team, Chris, everybody in the organization, has been with me 100 percent. We all feel good about it and just move forward.

What is the best-case scenario for your return?
I can’t tell you. Who knows? I can’t put a time frame on it. Like I said, it’s something that you’ve got to make sure you’re 100 percent before you come back.

Are you looking forward to taking advantage of the different view of the game?
I’m definitely going to do that. Not just for me, but to make our team better. To give them the input on what I see from the sidelines and what I think we can do to improve and get better as a team.

Any idea what rehab will be like?
We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but whatever I need to do. I know its going to be hard. No one said it was going to be easy. But I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back 100 percent to help this team win.

You once said you were the fastest guy in the NBA with a ball in your hand …
I’m still gone be the fastest guy in the league with a basketball after all this.


Whew! Now Let’s Play Catch-Up

OK, a lot has happened super fast. There was quite a bit of info, thoughts I didn’t get into my story for tomorrow’s paper. Here are some of the major points of the article, some of my thoughts, and some answers to your questions. Ready? Breathe. Read.

* I was told consistently by a source that Maggette got five years, $50 million. At the last-minute, I heard it was five years, $40 million. But my source reiterated that it was $50 million. That $10 million is a huge difference. That deal looks a whole lot better if it is for $40 million.

* Heard late in the evening that the Warriors made an offer to Ronny Turiaf! Don’t know all the details yet, but I was told it averaged about $4M a year. Ronny is restricted, so if the Warriors sign him to an offer sheet, the Lakers can match. I’m not sure if I like this or not yet. Turiaf is one of those dudes who impresses you in spots, but when you step back and look at what he brings overall, he’s not to impressive. He does some things well, not so much others. Is he worth $4M? Over three years, sure, why not. The Warriors need a hustler, a body not afraid to bang.

* I was shunned by Baron’s people. He nor his agent responded to the one question I had: With Brand going to Philly, is there ANY chance AT ALL that Baron goes back to the negotiating table with the Warriors? I got no love. A contact did tell me that the Clippers spent Tuesday evening talking to Baron, convincing him to stay, even working out the details of the contract (as well as preparing a fat offer sheet for Atlanta’s Josh Smith). They were pretty sure he was staying, but he was rumored to be livid over Brand’s Boozer impersonation.

* Pietrus got love from Orlando because Otis Smith, the Magic’s GM, likes Pietrus. They had some kind of bond when Smith was with the Warriors and Pietrus was a youngster. That helped MP2 get what he got. Orlando needed a replacement for Maurice Evans, who is now a free agent. There is even talk that Pietrus could start.

* Didn’t I say top-tier ballers don’t want to play for the Warriors? Brand turned down some $10 million more from the Warriors to go to … Philly! Dang. That was a straight slap in the face to the Warriors. Did the Warriors really think they were going to get a player better than Baron?

* Speaking of Brand, he just went from one of the league’s character examples to supplanting Carlos Boozer as the face of reneging. Check this out – Brand, according to insider scuttle, turned down virtually the same amount from the Clippers. Los Angeles got up to $80 million and was willing to renounce more players if necessary to give Brand more. Still, he chose Philly.

* So the salary cap is $58.7 million. The luxury tax will be $71.1 million. Based on my estimation, and figuring this out cost me hours of my life I’ll never get back, the Warriors are at about $50 million including the cap holds. Here is the breakdown:
Al Harrington – $9.23
Corey Maggette – $8.50
Stephen Jax – $7.14
Andris Biedrins – $7.90 (cap hold)
Adonal Foyle – $6.50 (buyout price)
Brandan Wright – $2.50
Kosta Perovic – $1.70
Ant Randolph – $1.70 (rookie scale max)
Monta Ellis – $1.54 (cap hold)
Marco Belinelli – $1.45 (rookie scale max)
Kelenna Azubuike-$0.89 (cap hold)
Richard Hendrix – $0.44 (league minimum)
C.J. Watson – $0.71 (minimum salary, non-guaranteed)
Total – $50.20

That leaves the Warriors with some $8 million to spend before hitting the cap. If Andris signs a deal starting at a salary equal to his cap hold, the the Warriors can sign a free agent or two before signing Ellis and Andris. They’ll have close to $10 million if they wait to sign Randolph until they hit the cap, which they can do under CBA rules. They would also have more if they traded Harrington and got less money back.

*Here’s a concern I have: what happens when Monta and Andris want more than Maggette? Monta certainly has a claim. Say the Warriors start Monta at $9 a year (which would be $67.5M contract over six years). And say they start Biedrins at $8. That would make Stephen Jackson the fifth-highest paid player on the team.
Now, he’s up for an extension. I seriously doubt if he gets one. How is he going to react to being so far down on the salary pole but being a leader on this team while getting no extension love? Remember, Jackson has watched Richardson get shipped out unexpectedly as if he wasn’t the heart and soul of the team. He watched Pietrus and his boy Barnes get hardballed into a one-year deal. He watched his “brother” Baron Davis get his extension requests rejected in consecutive offseasons and then “lowballed” (in his eyes). He’s watching his other close friend, Al Harrington, once highly coveted by the Warriors, become a role player.
You have to wonder if Jackson is going to take one for the team or try to get his paper.

* With the way restricted free agents are about to get squeezed (only the clippers have money left), don’t be surprised if several of them ask for a sign-and-trade or choose to play for the one-year qualifying offer (and become restricted free agents next season). Including Andris. The free agent market is kind of skimpy this offseason – thanks to all the money going to the few big names out there. Some of the second-tier stars will shine a lot brighter in 2009.

* I still say go after Rasheed Wallace or Shawn Marion or Lamar Odom. Use Harrington, future draft picks, etc. – maybe even Stephen Jackson – to get a proven All-Star. They all are one-and-done, which could give the Warriors cap space next year if they don’t work out.


Report Card: Swingmen

The Warriors have a wealth of small forward/shooting guards. Last year, this position was one of the team’s great strengths. It was where the Warriors versatility lied. It was the position their best defenders played. This year, they weren’t so good. The Warriors, with the way they play, need swingmen who produce consistently. One of the reasons for the lineup shuffling was the inconsistent production of the swingmen.

Stephen Jackson: He had a career year. He averaged 20 points for the first time in his career. He averaged four assists for just the second time in his career (both coming with the Warriors). He shot his best percentage from 3-point range ever. He averaged 39 minutes, five more than last season. His previous career high was 36.8. So Jackson certainly had a big year. He wasn’t as good defensively this season as he was last season. He wasn’t the stopper he proved to be a year ago, and he didn’t make it to the defensive end way too many times. That is mostly due to the amount of minutes he played.
Grade: A

Mickael Pietrus: He was the distraction this year – not Baron’s health, not Jackson’s temper, not Monta or Biedrins’ contract. But Pietrus’ contract issues and trade demands, then late-season injury woes, was the biggest locker room issue. That’s a sign of a good locker room.
His play picked up late in the season, negating a horrible first half of the season. He evidently relaxed when the trade deadline passed. What he gained with stellar bench play, he lost with an elongated groin injury.
Grade: D

Matt Barnes: He just didn’t bring it this year. He has reasons. His mother dying. The disappointment of not getting the deal he wanted plus the pressure of trying to do even more to get a bigger contract. Nellie riding him. Barnes certainly had distractions this season and they obviously took away from his play. Not only did he shoot drop three points off his scoring average from last season, and dropped from 36.6 percent from 3 a year ago to 29.3. But he didn’t have the zeal on defense, the all-out hustle, the blue-collar, do it all resolve he showed last season, especially during the playoffs.
Grade: D

Kelenna Azubuike: He improved this season. He played more, raised his scoring and rebounding averages. Came up with some big plays. Solidified himself as an NBA regular. He did have some growing pains. He stepped out of his role too much, especially down the stretch, and he wasn’t as consistent from behind the arc. His defense was poor sometimes, but that could be expected from a second-year player. He’s cheap, so his production looks a whole lot better and his mistakes are a way easier to swallow.
Grade: B-