The Los Angeles Clippers are strongly considering the signing of former San Antonio Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson to fill their growing need on the wing, according to sources familiar with the team’s thinking.
Sources told ESPN.com that Jackson, who has been searching for a new team since his sudden release by the Spurs shortly before last season’s playoffs in April, has emerged as a prime candidate for the Clippers to sign as early as this week after a series of injuries have decimated L.A.’s depth.
Injuries suffered by starting guard J.J. Redick, top reserve Matt Barnes and rookie forward Reggie Bullock prompted Clippers coach Doc Rivers to announce after Saturday’s loss in Cleveland that the Clippers essentially “have to look somewhere” for reinforcements.
“If you guys have any names, call me and let me know,” Rivers told reporters. “I’ll be on the phone tonight with [Clippers executives] Gary [Sacks] and Gerald [Madkins] and Dave Wohl and I’m praying they know somebody. We’ll see. You never know.”
Former Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown has also been mentioned as a potential target, but Jackson has the sort of size, 3-point shooting range and playoff résumé that could well appeal to Rivers as the Clippers search to fill the void.
It was not immediately known how the prospect of a signing this week, if it indeed comes to fruition, would impact the Clippers’ well-chronicled interest in re-signing veteran forward Lamar Odom. Rivers has spoken optimistically in recent weeks about Odom’s chances of returning to the Clippers after a tumultuous offseason, but the mounting injuries have left L.A. with a more pressing need than Odom might be able to fill. Earlier this month, one source briefed on the state of the Clippers’ courtship of Odom estimated that a return after Christmas was the most realistic timetable as the 33-year-old continues to work his way back into basketball shape.
Redick is out at least six weeks with a fracture in the small bone in his right hand and a tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament. Barnes has been plagued by a torn retina in his left eye that has already required two surgical procedures. And Bullock suffered a suspected high ankle sprain in the loss at Cleveland.
Jackson, meanwhile, has been working out on his own in Texas in hopes of hooking up with another contender. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich abruptly released the 35-year-old in April just six days before the end of the regular season because the Spurs felt that Jackson was unwilling to accept a lesser role in the playoffs behind fast-developing youngsters Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Jackson later said in numerous interviews that he actually asked the Spurs to move him before the league's annual trade deadline in February but couldn't convince them to go along with the request.