Stephen Jackson only played 35 games with the Spurs last season but it was a pretty awesome stint, albeit limited, considering he distilled his nominally combustible attributes for the good of a championship caliber team.
His best game was also San Antonio’s last: He scored 23 points on seven attempts, good for an insane 2.09 points per possession.
It was his shining moment, his moxie, his intensity that gave the Spurs a modicum of hope in an otherwise dire situation. But as San Antonio is indebted to him for keeping their hopes alive during Game 6, Jackson is similarly indebted to the Spurs organization for reinvigorating his career. Jackson feels the same way, saying that he was blessed to come back to San Antonio.
“It was a blessing,” Jackson said. “When I left (in 2003) it was kind of sour because we had just won a championship and I wanted to go back. But the contract and business part didn’t work. But going back this time was extra sweet to be back with the team I won a championship.”
Jackson has one year remaining on his contract. He’s set to earn $10.06 million, not exactly a coup for a role player, and will be difficult to move in trades. But, even so, the value of an expiring contract, even one as high as Jackson’s, is immeasurable. Many teams will likely be willing to take his contract to accrue more cap space for a star studded free agency class next summer.
Jackson knows the nature of the NBA; it’s a business as much as it is about basketball. He’s been on seven teams, ranging from really good to really crappy, and says he doesn’t mind playing somewhere else.
“I don’t know,” Jackson said. “If things work out in San Antonio I wouldn’t mind finishing my career there. But you know it’s a business and I’m one of those guys that doesn’t mind going to play somewhere else. I’ve been on seven different teams.”
Either way, you can not take away the indelible mark he has left on the organization and notably Tim Duncan, who consistently pegs him as the ultimate teammate.
Even if he’s playing with someone else next season.