Warriors' Jackson no longer captain
OAKLAND, Calif. -- "Captain Jack" is no more.
Disgruntled Golden State star Stephen Jackson asked to relinquish his captain title during a meeting Tuesday with Warriors coach Don Nelson and general manager Larry Riley.
"Don't try to dig into it, that's just how I feel," Jackson said. "I don't want to be a role model. ... Being captain was overrated to me, anyway. You don't do anything but go out before the game and talk to the refs. I don't want to do that, anyway."
Nelson accepted Jackson's request and called it a "good thing" on the heels of the emotional swingman's two-game suspension for an outburst directed at the coach early in Friday's preseason game against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
"Well, the prodigal son has returned," Nelson said after Jackson rejoined the team for Tuesday's practice. "It's good to have Jack back. We're going to keep him in the same position as far as my starting three is concerned."
Jackson, who made a public trade request in August and was later fined $25,000 by the NBA for doing so, acknowledged he didn't think Nelson supported him to the referees in a physical matchup with Kobe Bryant.
Jackson picked up five fouls and a technical in less than 10 minutes and was sent to the locker room by Nelson following a testy exchange.
Jackson never returned and the suspension ensued. He and his wife visited the zoo during the time off -- and Jackson didn't watch basketball, though he said he checked the boxscore and called some teammates to tell them good game.
The rest of the Warriors are trying to stay out of Jackson's spat with management.
"I'm not really worried about who's turned in their captain badges," guard Kelenna Azubuike said.
Still, they missed their leading scorer from last season the past two games.
Nelson considered Tuesday's meeting with Jackson productive and said the Warriors "aren't asking him to be somebody different than he is." The 31-year-old Jackson said his relationship with Nelson has changed because of this incident.
The suspension cost him approximately $139,000 in salary.
"Any time somebody takes $150,000 from me, of course it's going to change," Jackson said. "If my mom took some money from me I'd still love her to death but I'd still be upset about it. And he's not my mom."
All of this after Jackson was so thrilled when Nelson called to ask him to be captain before last season that he apparently celebrated with champagne.
But Jackson has been upset with the Warriors' decline since he helped the franchise end a 13-year postseason drought with a trip to the second round of the playoffs in 2007.
Then why did he agree to a three-year, $28 million contract extension last November? He said that was about money -- he couldn't turn it down. But now he wants out, and the sooner the better.
"We're going to try to accommodate him but it's not that easy to do," Nelson said.
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.
Jackson still thinks a trade could happen.
"I don't think it's hard. I know there's a lot of teams that want me. I'm a good player," he said. "I speak my mind. I don't bite my tongue for no one. Whether you pay me or not, I'm not biting my tongue."
Jackson acknowledged the Warriors helped him repair his rocky image, though he's also said he has no regrets about going into the stands with Ron Artest during the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004.
"This ain't the first time I lost money. I lost $3 million on the fight," Jackson said. "I didn't agree with [the latest suspension]. Anybody who'd seen the game saw how I got handled out there. I got treated wrong, no question."
When asked whether he felt he had Nelson's support Friday, he said, "If I would have felt that way I wouldn't have blew up."
Jackson said he won't be a distraction. He said he'd be open to sitting out if that's what the Warriors decide is best.
"If they want to send me home and pay me, I'm fine with that," he said.
The Indiana Pacers last season told Jamaal Tinsley not to report to training camp and didn't allow him to play. New York kept Stephon Marbury on the bench then later told him to stay away until the Knicks finally waived him after he agreed to a buyout of his $20.8 million contract. Boston then acquired him.
In regards to a buyout, Jackson said: "It has to be right. I doubt if they'd do that."
For now, everybody involved would like to move forward.
That's tough to do when Jackson says he can't guarantee something similar won't happen again.
"We'll have to wait and see. I can't predict the future," he said.
"I hope not," Nelson said. "The only unfortunate part is we've been doing some very nice things. We've been playing pretty darn well and nobody seems to know. Things happen and you deal with them and you move on."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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