Marc Stein: Stephen Jackson a Warrior, for Now

Marc Stein writes:

A couple notes of clarification on the prospect of Golden State dealing Stephen Jackson to Cleveland in a swap featuring Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as introduced earlier Friday in this piece from the Contra Costa Times and brought to our attention, as always, by the boys at HoopsHype:

  • Multiple plugged-in sources insist that these are not active discussions. It's no secret that the Warriors did make several calls before the season to gauge Captain Jack's value after Jackson's bombshell about wanting to be dealt to the Cavs, Knicks or one of the three Texas teams. But Golden State's talks with Cleveland were "nothing substantive," according to one source.

  • As our man Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer succinctly explained today via his Twitter feed, Cleveland's willingness to take on even more salary in trades than it already has does not mean that the Cavs are prepared to surrender a big man in the exchange unless they get a certifiable "star" back. Reason being: Cleveland knows it needs extra size if it wants to get past Orlando and Boston in the East and the Lakers in a theoretical Finals matchup.

  • A theoretical Cavs-Warriors deal headlined by Jackson and Ilgauskas -- who's in the final year of his contract at $11.5 million -- would only provide Golden State with payroll relief. That's a big deal, but the Warriors would ideally like to bring back at least one player for the future (with a reasonable contract) if they're going to part with someone as important as Jackson, whereas I get the feeling that Cleveland is likely only willing to part with the likes of Daniel Gibson or Delonte West in addition to Ilgauskas.

  • The reality remains that moving Jackson is going to be very difficult for the Warriors even if they decide they want to ship him out because his three-year, $27.8 million extension doesn't even kick in until next season. But the sense I get is that they're not pushing hard for a deal right now. It's simply too early in the season. In a month or three, maybe Cleveland or some other contender might be desperate (or at least looking) to add a difference-maker like Jackson. No team, in this economic climate, is going to absorb that sort of salary commitment before we even get to mid-October.

All signs strongly point to Captain Jack starting the season with the Dubs.