2013 NBA Free Agency: Stephen Jackson 34th top free agent

By Quixem Ramirez

May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) and forward Stephen Jackson (3) react as Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (12) watches during game four of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. The Spurs defeated the Clippers 102-99 to win the series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

It may seem premature to prognosticate next years free agency class, especially when there still remain some decent pieces left on the market, but successful NBA front offices are unremitting in their depth and consistently finding gems isn’t a simple calculus.

As NBA fans, it’s also fun to speculate on next years free agent class which is considerably deep and contains a lot of elite talent.

Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the presumptive top two players with All-Star caliber players like Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Manu Ginobili filling in the gaps.

Tom Ziller of SB Nation is compiling a list of the top 50 free agents of next years class and Stephen Jackson checks in at 34th.

“Hello, old friend! True story: Stephen Jackson hasn’t been a free agent since 2004. The Pacers gave him     some money in a sign-and-trade for Al Harrington that summer, the Warriors gave him an extension in     2008, and he’s been living off that ever since. It’ll end up as $66 million over nine years. And you know     what? That sounds about right. As Jack proved in San Antonio for the stretch run, he’s a brilliant man     defender who can take any shot in the world. (Making them is a different story.) But as he proved in     Milwaukee, he’s slightly difficult to work with. That will depress his free agent market. But every team always     thinks that it is the one to reform a lost soul, and someone will take a ride with Captain Jack if he has     another good time in south Texas.”

This bit of insight does reinforce Jackson’s value should the Spurs decide to expend his $10.06 million expiring contract before the trading deadline. Jackson’s behavioral issues hurt his standing among lottery teams but as long as the commitment isn’t unilateral, and Jackson feels comfortable with his role, he has proven to be an effective defender and willing passer. If not, he’s churlish, inefficient and unwilling to fulfill his role. There’s a wide gap between the two and teams will have to gauge whether their team is the right fit for Jackson. This may keep him in San Antonio next season but their decision on Jackson will inevitably be heavily influenced by Ginobili’s contract situation.