Pop addresses Stephen Jackson’s departure
AT&T CENTER — After the San Antonio Spurs announced that the team had placed Stephen Jackson on waivers, less than a week before the regular season was set to conclude, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed the media before the team’s game against the Sacramento Kings.
“We’re getting ready for playoffs and putting our team together, what we want to do and who we want to do it with, and we thought that making this decision with Jack was best for the group,” Pop said. “Tough decision because on a personal basis, I’ve known him a long time and I enjoy him very much. You gotta make decisions that are tough sometimes and we thought this was best for our group.”
Pop went on to say that Jack didn’t violate any team rules leading to his release and said that Jack was “classy” in how he handled the decision.
Classy it may be, you have to wonder if this is the last we’ve seen of Stephen Jackson in the NBA. Gregg Popovich has long been one of the only coaches in the league capable of controlling Jack’s personality and the team culture added to that. Few franchises around the league boast that combination. If the Spurs cut him just days before the playoffs start because they think they’re better off without him, what team is going to take a chance on Jack again?
Pop admitted that waiving Jack, along with Boris Diaw’s back surgery, leaves the team with some questions when it comes to depth.
“We probably look a little thin, but life goes on,” Pop said. “Nobody knew that it was going to be two or three weeks for Boris, but the two events are basically mutually exclusive in the sense that what had to be done.”
More than anything on the court, I think everyone is going to miss the personality that Stephen Jackson brought to the San Antonio Spurs. He was a fan favorite in his first go around with the team and did nothing to tarnish that feeling in his second. There will be plenty of disappointment about his exile, but in the mind of Gregg Popovich, the Spurs did what they felt was best for the franchise going forward.