The Bobcats announced earlier today that they have acquired Swingman Stephen Jackson from the Golden State Warriors. Jackson is a 31 year old player who last year was one of only four players to average 20+ points, 6+ assists and 5+ rebounds last season, the others being LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul. The Bobcats traded away starting shooting guard Raja Bell and backup power forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who has struggled so far this season. The Warriors also included G Acie Law in the deal.
This was a brilliant trade for a variety of reasons. First, although Raja is a great defensive player and can shoot the three, he has been injured too much to be reliable. Jackson has only missed more than ten games in 2004-2005 and last season, when he underwent sugery to fix the turf toe he had been playing through for around two years. Also, Jackson gives the Bobcats a huge scoring ability that they have lacked since Jason Richardson was traded away. This also frees up Gerald Wallace to have more opportunites. As for the other two players invloved, Vladimir Radmanovic and Acie Law, I see more advantages for the ‘Cats. Vladi had been struggling since last season, and hasn’t been able to find his shot. He’d also been playing out of position. This allows rookie Derrick Brown and second year player Alexis Ajinca more time at the backup power forward spot. Acie Law is a former lottery pick who has jumped around a little bit, and if anyone can help a point guard transition to the NBA, it’s coach Larry Brown.
Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering about the salary implications of this deal. This season the Bobcats save almost 2 million, and next season they lose around 1.5 million. Both Law’s and Bell’s contracts expire at the end of the year. Seeing that Raja was very comfortable in Charlotte, and just bought a house in the Queen City, he might be inclined to return, especially if Flip Murray doesn’t return next season.
Many people have criticized Jackson for his attitude with Warrior’s coach Don Nelson, but all reports from those who know him make SJax out to be a great guy. Tim Duncan considers Stephen to be the “ultimate teammate” and was given the NBA’s Community Assist Award in March 2008. He attends Bible study and is known for being extremely personable.
* Jackson will likley wear number 1, as it was his number in Golden State and is free.
* Law will probably wear number 2 for the same reasons.
* Both are planning on playing tonight against Orlando.
* Jackson’s agent has already said he is thrilled to be in Charlotte and is a big fan of co-owner Michael Jordan.