Waive Goodbye to Captain Jack
The San Antonio Spurs have decided, on the cusp of the playoffs, to waive Stephen Jackson.
That's where the speculation begins. It's really odd for a championship contending team to waive a player who has been an integral part of their bench.
What could be the reason?
That Jackson is known to have have an explosive personality wasn't news to the Spurs organization, so they should have been accustomed to that. What, then, could have sparked the apparently sudden demise?
With absolutely positively no knowledge of the locker room situation or the off court relationship that exists for San Antonio, we have to use what public evidence exists. We do know that coach Gregg Popovich gave a gracious answer to local reporters Friday night, where he said that that it was a 'tough decision' and concluded with, “But you’ve got to make decisions that are tough sometimes,” describing it as both “a basketball decision and a family decision.”
What does it all mean? Coming from Popovich, a man who is well respected and knows what it takes to win, we have to read between the lines that Jackson was becoming too much of a distraction. Popovich knows better than anyone that it is much better to waive a reserve who divides the team than keep him in the off-chance he may be able to help in the long run.
Despite the real reason, one thing is certain: the Spurs wanted to make sure that waiving Jackson wouldn't come back to haunt them. Doing it now was strategic; if San Antonio would have made the move before 1 March, he could have been playoff-eligible and could have ended up playing against them in the post-season.
Don't fret for Captain Jack, though. The Spurs had already paid Jackson most of his $10.06million salary for the season.
So although he got the boot, he's still got the booty.