Wesley trade unaffected, team says
NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Hornets suspended Jim Jackson indefinitely on Wednesday for not reporting to the team, two days after he was acquired from Houston in a trade.
Hornets coach Byron Scott suspected Jackson would not show up as scheduled after speaking with him by phone shortly after the trade brought the 13-year veteran to the worst team the league.
"He basically didn't want to start over. He wants to have a chance to win a championship just like 200 other players in this league," Scott said. "We've encouraged him to just come down and meet everyone in the organization ... and I think he could have a change of heart, but right now he's pretty adamant about this not being something he wants to do at this particular point in his career."
When Jackson failed to arrive, the Hornets suspended him indefinitely.
Jackson, 34, was averaging 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds this season with Houston -- a team that at 13-15 has played below expectations but nonetheless stands a much better chance of making the playoffs than Hornets, who were 2-25 going into Wednesday night's game against Phoenix.
Hornets guard Baron Davis, who before this season started said he was disappointed with his team's offseason moves and wouldn't mind being traded himself, said he could relate to Jackson's stance.
"Nobody wants to go from having a chance to be in the playoffs to the worst team in the league, especially when your at the end of your NBA career," Davis said. "It would be different if you were young and wanted playing time."
By suspending Jackson, the Hornets do not have to pay him. Jackson also could be fined by the league under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.
The Hornets hope that will serve as motivation for Jackson to report.
New Orleans general manager Allan Bristow said that if Jackson thinks his refusal to report will motivate the Hornets to trade him, he could be mistaken.
"We certainly hope over time he will realize the Hornets family wants him here," Bristow said. "When you talk about the Hornets and their record right now ... certainly that's a discouraging mark ... but we don't plan to be in this position very long.
"Trades are a vital part of getting this team back to the way we want it to be. We take trades very seriously and certainly expect that Jim Jackson will change his mind and be here soon," Bristow said.
Bristow said he knows from his playing days that being traded can be traumatic and that he hopes Jackson is simply "in shock" and will soon come to his senses.
"He's going to come in, he can start, not only for this year but for next year. We're looking more for next year than for this year because of injuries and trying to get everyone back together," Bristow said.
The Hornets have had up to five players on the injured list at one time this season, receiving league exemptions to surpass the usual maximum of three. Among the injured are recent All-Stars Jamaal Magloire, who'll be out another month with a broken finger, and Davis, who returned last week from a 19-game absence.
Jackson could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. A phone call to his agent, Mark Termini, was not returned.
The trade was not affected by Jackson's suspension, the Hornets said. Nachbar was available for New Orleans' home game Wednesday night against Phoenix.
Jackson has played with Dallas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Golden State, Portland, Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami and Sacramento, in addition to Houston, where he signed as a free agent before last season.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press