Clippers agree to sign Stephen Jackson
Facing a series of injuries to wing players, the Clippers agreed to sign veteran small forward Stephen Jackson on Monday.
“One thing about me I never panic [because] God taught me how to enjoy the bad and good times,” Jackson wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of himself in a Clippers jersey. “It’s easy to [be] positive when [you] are thankful and humble. God is Great. Let’s turn up LA. Promise to give my all. #Clips.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Jackson would likely join the team on Tuesday.
“I just think he’s a veteran,” Rivers told the paper. “We need him in a pinch and we need him like now. And that’s a guy that you can bring in and hopefully he can give you something right away with Reggie [Bullock] being out for at least this trip and maybe longer.”
Jackson, 35, hasn’t played in the NBA since he was released by the Spurs in April, just days before the start of the playoffs, which culminated in a San Antonio trip to the Finals. A disagreement between coach Gregg Popovich and Jackson over the player’s role reportedly prompted the decision.
“I ain’t tripping at all,” Jackson wrote on Twitter after his surprising release. “No worries. Don’t worry about what [you] can’t control. Breathe easy.”
Jackson averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.5 minutes in 55 games last season. His career averages are 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 13 seasons with the Nets, Spurs, Hawks, Pacers, Warriors, Bobcats and Bucks.
L.A. surely didn’t expect to find itself in this position, not after entering the season with one of the league’s deepest wing corps. The hits have kept coming one after another: Matt Barnes underwent surgery on his eye in November, J.J. Redick was lost for at least six weeks with a broken hand earlier this month and the rookie Bullock sprained his ankle Saturday.
Despite the injuries, the Clippers led the Pacific Division with a 13-8 record through Sunday. Chris Paul has captained L.A. to the fifth-ranked offense and the team has improved its defensive ranking to 14th after beginning the season near the basement.
Rivers has started Willie Green in place of Redick, and Jackson would pencil in behind Jared Dudley at small forward. L.A. has also been linked to interest in free-agent forward Lamar Odom, but Jackson would fill the franchise’s only open roster spot at the moment.
Even though he hasn’t played, Jackson has made his fair share of headlines during 2013.
Back in September, Jackson, who moonlights as a rapper, explained to ESPN’s Highly Questionable why he choked former NBA player Steve Francis during a club appearance.
“As soon as I start rapping, he jumps up on the back of the stage, back of the DJ booth,” Jackson explained. “He didn’t know one word to my song, I don’t know why he jumped up there. He bumped me two times with his midsection. I felt his belt bumping me on my neck. … I asked him to get down, he said something crazy. One thing led to another. My hand ended up on his throat, and the next thing you know he’s in [hand]cuffs.”
Jackson, who possesses career earnings of more than $68 million, drew laughs in April after his $10 million salary earned him a spot on Forbes‘ “Most Overpaid” list.
“I’ve been underpaid my whole career,” he said in response, smiling. “You do the math. It’s adding up. Who cares? Whether they think that or not, I’m still getting paid almost $10 million this year.”
“Captain Jack” was also fined $25,000 by the NBA last December for threatening Thunder forward Serge Ibaka on Twitter.