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Stephen Jackson's reaction to suspension will be crucial

Stephen Jackson's reaction to suspension will be crucial The message was sent to the Warriors' disgruntled team captain Stephen Jackson in the form of a $139,000 dock in pay. Now, the Warriors sit and wait.

According to multiple sources, Golden State isn't in a rush to ship away Jackson, who on Saturday was suspended for two exhibition games.

A few schools of thought exist. Either the trade offers aren't worth it, they still believe Jackson will come around emotionally, or they simply need him to come back and play decently to establish a better market for him. Maybe it is all of the above. Either way, the next move seems to belong to Jackson.

"Obviously," general manager Larry Riley said, "we would never hope it would come to this with any of our players."

Team president Robert Rowell was unavailable for comment. Coach Don Nelson has declined to comment about the matter, and attempts to reach Jackson have been unsuccessful.

Jackson was suspended for Saturday's win over the Phoenix Suns at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, an outdoor arena, and also for tonight's game at the Los Angeles Clippers. The suspension was for "conduct detrimental to the team," stemming from his behavior during Friday night's win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Forum.

He is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday in Oakland. But will the Warriors get Jackson the malcontent, or Jackson the consummate pro?

The former figures to make Jackson harder to trade. Already toting a contract with four years and more than $35 million remaining on it, Jackson is no doubt less desirable when he's causing problems for his franchise. If he wants to be traded, he needs interested teams to improve their offers, since Riley has yet to hear one he's willing to accept.

That reason, plus the fact the Warriors still believe the Jackson from the last 2 1/2 years will surface, might explain why they still would be holding out hope for a peaceful resolution.

"He's a leader either way," Nelson said during a pre-training camp interview. "If he's here, he's going to try the best he can to do what we want, and to win games. It's not going to affect his performance, as far as I'm concerned. ... You know, Jack's a competitor. He's going to compete. He's going to be Jack. And I can deal with Jack. I can coach Jack."

Certainly, Jackson expressed anger about the $25,000 fine the league imposed on him for publicly demanding a trade, which deterred him from expressing that desire again. So it might be reasonable to expect Jackson to change his tune.

Plus, it can be argued the Warriors need Jackson to be the leading scorer, top defender and emotional leader he was last season. Many expect it to be a rough season for the Warriors already. Take Jackson out of the picture along with his 20.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds and it could be a lot worse.

Though clearly a long shot to be in the playoff picture, Golden State could sell its rebuilding plan more easily if it were at least competitive this season. Winning fewer than 29 games last season's victory total wouldn't buy patience from a fan base pining for a postseason return.

In the meantime, everyone waits to see how Jackson, one of the most unpredictable players in the NBA, will respond.

The ball is in his at Clippers, 7:30 p.m.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 12, 2009


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