When the Spurs traded the albatross that was Richard Jefferson and his remaining $21 million for the impetuous Stephen Jackson, it was viewed as a cost-effective move, as Jackson will earn $11 million less than RJ, with the potential of also invigorating San Antonio with, well, life. But the incentive, at least partly, came down to adding extra financial flexibility.
Jackson is set to earn approximately $10.1 million this season, his final year on his deal. Jackson played markedly better in San Antonio than he did with Milwaukee, where he shot 35.7% from the field and 27.8% from behind the arc in 26 games.
But is Jackson overpaid for his shooting and supposed rapport with his teammates? Dime Magazine thinks so: They ranked him as the 25th most overpaid player in the NBA.
There was a time when $10 million for Stephen Jackson was his proper financial value – he was one of Indiana and Golden State’s best players during the prime of his career. But now that he’s bounced around the league in multiple trades, finally landing on San Antonio’s bench, his cap number is way too high. And while he can still fulfill a valuable role as a bench scorer, that same value can be found for half the price. Then again, the fact that his deal expires after this upcoming season could allow San Antonio to acquire the right piece to put them over the top – so maybe there is some requisite value in there, somewhere.
If you weight his contract empirically and his production side by side then, yeah, he’s overpaid. $10 million for a player who posted a 13.1 PER is a bit much. But I don’t think it’s a vast overpay as Jackson fits the Spurs well and he gives them another player who can create for himself and catch-and-shoot when necessary — his 23-point performance on 6-of-7 shooting from behind the arc in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals is evidence.
His expiring contract also becomes a valuable trade chip should Jackson A) not play well enough this season, B) become increasingly more volatile (which I think is highly unlikely) or C) be expendable in a deal that improves the Spurs. There are many teams, especially losing ones, that will accept his flaws to alleviate $10 million in cap space next summer.
Regardless, I’ll still take Captain Jack over the majority of role players.