Warriors' Jackson still wants trade
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Jackson was his typical candid self: He still would like to be traded from the Golden State Warriors and doesn't regret saying so, doesn't regret anything ... even going into the stands after fans in 2004.
"What I said is how I feel, point-blank. That's not going to change," Jackson said during Monday's media day, where the team's captain opened by calling the throng of reporters waiting for him "vultures."
He's unhappy with Golden State's decline since reaching the second round of the 2007 playoffs to end a 13-year postseason drought.
Jackson unloaded his frustrations with the franchise, reiterating public comments he made last month that he wants out so he has a more realistic chance of getting to the playoffs elsewhere. The Warriors' leading scorer and top defensive player was fined $25,000 by the NBA earlier this month for publicly requesting a trade.
"Don't ask me questions I already answered," he said. "I feel the same way I felt last time. Y'all know I got fined, so don't ask me the questions if you don't want me to get fined. Kobe [Bryant] said the same thing two years ago and didn't get a fine, but we're not going to beat a dead horse. They know they're wrong. But I can't beat the NBA so I've got to roll with it."
He even went as far as to say he regrets nothing in his career, speaking specifically about going into the stands with then-Indiana teammate Ron Artest during an ugly brawl with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
"I don't have a regret about anything I've done. I don't have a regret about going in the stands with Ron Artest," Jackson said. "I say what I want to say when I feel like it, regardless of what the consequence is. That's just always been me."
Jackson said he will put all of this out of mind once the team hits the practice floor for the start of training camp Tuesday -- and coach Don Nelson insists he won't have trouble dealing with the disgruntled swingman.
"Nobody has any less faith in him," forward Anthony Randolph said. "This is a business."
While at least some of the Warriors' front office and fans were caught off guard hearing Jackson's statements -- made to Dime Magazine in New York while with buddy and former teammate Al Harrington at an event sponsored by their shoe company -- he isn't concerned.
"I mean, you gotta hear it some way," Jackson said. "You want me to send you an e-mail, Facebook or something? I'm a grown man, I have six kids, I'm married now, so I speak my mind. I thought I had freedom of speech but obviously I don't."
Jackson had a brief conversation with team president Robert Rowell before a series of photo shoots Monday in his No. 1 jersey, and Rowell categorized it as "positive." But Jackson, given a three-year contract extension worth $28 million in November, said their relationship has become strained.
Rowell said he told Jackson he's committed to fielding a competitive team.
"We stick by Jack. Jack is Jack. ... What that means is expect the unexpected," Rowell said. "We have a lot of respect for him and his game. Sports is emotional. I'd rather have people who speak their mind than people who don't."
Nelson acknowledged last week he discussed the idea of Jackson being traded during a conversation they had early last season, before Jackson accepted the new deal. Jackson said Monday he was surprised Nelson brought the idea up to him then, but the coach has said he knew Jackson would struggle with the losing by a young roster.
Why did Jackson make his feelings known now and not before signing the extension?
"Who's going to turn down that money? I'm not stupid. I didn't go to college but I've got a lot of common sense," he said. "Even though I signed my extension, that doesn't mean things can't happen. Shaq got traded. Michael Jordan went to another team."
Jackson averaged 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 59 games last season. He insists he will continue to play hard as long as he's here. Nelson and general manager Larry Riley have said they will explore a trade for Jackson only if it's the right situation for the Warriors.
"You don't hold it against the player," guard Speedy Claxton said. "It can only be a distraction if you let it be a distraction. A lot of guys in the NBA could be mad and don't think before they say certain things."
Since Jackson arrived in the Bay Area in a trade with the Pacers in January 2007, he has rebounded from a rocky past to become a key piece for Nelson and a major spark for the Warriors.
Golden State shocked Dallas in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, the organization's lone postseason trip since 1994. The 2008 squad barely missed the postseason despite winning 48 games, the most by a nonplayoff NBA team in a quarter-century.
"It don't feel good to me that ever since I've been here I know I had a big part in getting this organization back to a winning attitude, if not the biggest part," Jackson said. "Every year I've lost somebody I felt helped me get to that, with Baron [Davis], Jason [Richardson], Al. It felt like I'm next. It feels like we're not getting better. It's no disrespect to guys on the team. I love all the guys on the team and I'm not saying the job couldn't get done with them, but at the same time I came into this game a winner and I want to continue to be a winner."Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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