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Warriors deal disgruntled star Jackson to Bobcats

By staff reports
Posted Nov 16 2009 3:18PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Golden State Warriors found a home for disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson on Monday, sending him to the Charlotte Bobcats in a four-player deal that pairs him with coach Larry Brown.

The Bobcats sent shooting guard Raja Bell and forward Vladimir Radmanovic to the Warriors for Jackson and guard Acie Law.

The deal gives Jackson his wish: a ticket out of town after his difficult relationship with Warriors coach Don Nelson, who acknowledged last week they had been trying to trade him.

Charlotte takes on Jackson's contract, which has three years and $27.7 million left after this season. Golden State inherits Radmanovic's deal, worth about $13.5 million over this season and next. Bell and Law are in the final year of their contracts.

The two teams had been talking about Jackson for weeks. Initially, the Bobcats and Warriors discussed Bell in trade scenarios that didn't involve Jackson. Once Charlotte agreed this weekend to include Bell in the Jackson talks, and Charlotte dropped trade proposals pairing veteran centers Nazr Mohammed or DeSagana Diop with Radmonovic, the sides moved quickly toward a deal.

Jackson wanted to be on an East coast team that wouldn't force him to agree to a contract buyout of the remaining three years and $27.7 million left on his contract after this season, and that was what most teams that inquired about him wanted to do.

Cleveland, a source involved in the talks told TNT's David Aldridge, wanted Jackson to do just that before agreeing to any potential deal for him. But Jackson wasn't going to give up money with the possibility of a lockout in 2011 looming. He was also reluctant to go to the Cavaliers because he didn't know what the team would look like after this season, with LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas all pending free agents. Denver also made inquires about Jackson but couldn't make a deal work financially.

Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said Jackson was on his way from Milwaukee, where the Warriors played Saturday, to Orlando, where the Bobcats played later Monday.

"We had an opportunity to bring a starter to our lineup," Higgins said. "A guy we envision starting at the (shooting) guard spot. He's coming off arguably his best season last year. I spoke to Stephen, and he's very excited to come here."

The 6-foot-8 Jackson gives Charlotte, the NBA's lowest-scoring team at 82.4 points a game, an immediate offensive boost. He's averaging 16.6 points in nine games this season, after averaging 20.7 points and 6.5 assists last season.

"He's happy for three reasons: one, he respects Larry Brown very much; two, the respect he has for Michael Jordan; and three, the opportunity to play and have his value recognized," said Jackson's agent, Mark Stevens. "He's honored that Michael Jordan wants him."

But the 31-year-old Jackson also brings plenty of off-court baggage, dating to when he was suspended for going into the stands in Auburn Hills, Mich., in the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004.

He's been upset with the Warriors since their decline after he helped lead them to the second round of the 2007 playoffs. The NBA fined him $25,000 when he went public with his trade demands in August. He then got into a spat with Nelson during an exhibition game last month, leading to a two-game suspension that cost him about $139,000 in salary. He also relinquished his captain title.

The Warriors felt they could no longer wait to remove Jackson from their locker room. They had hoped to hang onto him longer, maybe until mid-December, when players signed this summer as free agents would be eligible to be traded, to see if they could get a better deal. But the toxic atmosphere Jackson created forced their hand.

"I have no issues with this," Warriors general manager Larry Riley said Monday, "and I'm glad to get it done."

Higgins says the Bobcats aren't focusing on Jackson's behavior in Golden State.

"Our relationship with him is going to start today," Higgins said. "We will embrace him and work with him to, first of all, try to improve our basketball team, and secondly, to bring him into our core and our organization."

The Warriors wanted Bell, who had played for Nelson in Dallas, even though he has a partially torn ligment in his left wrist that may require surgery that could keep him out much of the rest of the season. They desperately need a respected, veteran voice in their locker room, and Bell has always been one of the league's true stand-up guys. Even if Bell never plays for the Warriors, Riley said, they want him to be a part of their organization going forward.

The 33-year-old Bell departs after being acquired by Charlotte from Phoenix in a trade less than a year ago.

Radmanovic, a 6-foot-10 jump-shooting forward, was acquired last season in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and will give the Warriors more size. He had been miscast this season as Brown had him playing power forward because of depth issues.

Golden State hopes the 29-year-old Radmonovic will thrive in its up-tempo attack as he did earlier in his career in Seattle. Radmonovic fell out of the rotation with the Lakers and was quite happy last season in Charlotte, where he got playing time and was a catalyst for the Bobcats' run at a playoff berth during the second half of the season.

Brown's biggest challenge will be getting Jackson to fit into his demanding system after yet another roster shuffle for a team off to a disappointing 3-6 start. The Bobcats have made five trades involving 17 players in 11 months since Brown began his record ninth NBA head coaching job last season.

Law is averaging 6.2 points and gives Charlotte another option in its backcourt.

TNT analyst David Aldridge contributed to this report. You can e-mail him here.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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