Welp: Spurs waive Stephen Jackson
In what can only be described the most surprising news of the season, the San Antonio Spurs placed forward Stephen Jackson on waivers with just four games remaining in the regular season. Art Garcia of Fox Sports Southwest was the first to report the news on Twitter this afternoon.
Matt Tynan and I watched the Spurs’ loss to the Nuggets together in San Marcos on Wednesday night, and he mentioned seeing something on Twitter about Jack being involved in some sort of a blowout, but it was random and nothing had been reported by the big guys (Express-News, ESPN, etc). So at the time it was just a bit of randomness in the ether.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that indeed there was some sort of blowup between Jack and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich this week, though it’s something that has been brewing for some time. Either way, making this move now speaks as to how dire the situation was in the eyes of the Spurs’ brass.
I’m sure we’ll get some sort of statement from Coach Pop when he has his typical pregame presser at 6:15 CT, so we’ll have a little more about this before tip-off. For now, let’s talk about the bind this puts the Spurs in.
Jack wasn’t exactly having the best of seasons. He’s been injured off and on throughout most of the year, most recently missing some time with a sprained ankle. Jack was only shooting 27 percent from the 3-point line this season as well, which is typically his main offensive responsibility on these Spurs. Looking at it that way, you could assume that this might not be that big of a deal.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. Despite his poor shooting this season, Jack has a penchant for knocking down the big shots; take Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, for example. Outside of Kawhi Leonard, Jack is also the Spurs’ best defender to throw at Kevin Durant should the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder meet up again in the playoffs. Jack is consistently physical on the perimeter when defending elite wings, something that goes over a lot better in the playoffs than in the regular season.
With less than a week left in the regular season, the San Antonio will be hard pressed to find a capable replacement for Jackson as the backup small forward. His minutes likely would’ve diminished in the playoffs anyway, as Kawhi Leonard looks able to play 40+ minutes most nights when the postseason starts. But foul trouble and other breaks of the game, including news that Boris Diaw had surgery to remove a synovial cyst excised from his lumbar spine and will miss three-to-four weeks, will have a lot to say about that. Bringing in outside help, other than possibly someone from the Austin Toros who is vaguely familiar with the Spurs’ system, probably isn’t going to happen.
Get ready for a lot of [pick your point guard]-Gary Neal-Danny Green lineups, you guys.