DALLAS -- As is their custom, one NBA team always tries to one-up another by acquiring a player who
they believe can give them a decisive edge.
That may have been the case when the San Antonio Spurs acquired small forward Stephen Jackson in a trade with the Golden State Warriors this past Thursday.
Jackson won an NBA title with the Spurs in 2003. He also was part of the Warriors when they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA playoff history by knocking off the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs.
It was the first time a No. 8-seed defeated a No. 1-seed in a seven-of-seven series in NBA history. And Jackson was credited with keeping Dirk Nowitzki below his average and taking him out of his game.
So, was Spurs coach Gregg Popovich looking ahead to a possible playoff matchup with the Mavs when he obtained Jackson while parting ways with the underachieving Richard Jefferson?
“I don’t think Pop cares at all,’’ guard Jason Terry said. “I think that’s what they needed, they wanted to get Jefferson out of there.
“If you can get Stephen Jackson for Richard Jefferson, I would have did it, too. And he’s a (Arizona) Wildcat (like Terry), so that was a no-brainer.’’
Coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t overly concerned about whether the Spurs were trying to matchup with a particular Mavs player when they acquired Jackson.
“I think everybody views their situation at the trade deadline as, ‘What can we do to improve our team?,’’ Carlisle said. “I don’t know it is based on any particular matchup.
“Just about any matchup you’d have in the West is going to be tough. You look to enhance your team.’’
And the acquisition of Jackson was a huge upgrade from what Jefferson gave the Spurs.
“I understand the reasons they did it,’’ Carlisle said. “Jackson’s all-around playing ability is tremendous and he has experience in their season, so they’re comfortable with him.
“I’m sure he’ll play great.”
Jackson played for Carlisle from 2004-’07 when the two were with the Indiana Pacers. Jackson averaged 18.7 points for the Pacers during the 2004-’05 season, and 16.4 points during the ’05-’06 campaign.
“I love Jack,’’ Carlisle said. “He was a terrific player for us and helped us win some playoff series.
“He always was a clutch player. I have fond memories. I don’t have fond memories of playing against him. That was always hard.”
The Mavs certainly don’t have any fond memories of Jackson. Which is why they had to be concerned when they heard he was joining the Spurs.
“What I do know is he won his championship with them, so he’s very confident over there on their team, ‘’ Terry said. “And he’s a tough competitor.’’
-- Dwain Price
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