Monday, August 31, 2009
Updated: September 1, 11:49 AM ET
Jackson's future with Warriors unclear
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Whether Stephen Jackson returns to the Golden State Warriors this season is unclear.
As of now, general manager Larry Riley still considers Jackson a key part of the team despite the leading scorer saying he wants to go elsewhere and win.
"Stephen Jackson has been a true professional since arriving here three seasons ago, and our expectations of him have not changed despite his recent comments," Riley said in a statement. "He's been one of our most consistent and productive players during that time. We expect that same display of professionalism as we begin to prepare for training camp and the start of the upcoming regular season."
Jackson, Golden State's leading scorer and emotional swingman, on Friday night told Dime Magazine at an event in New York that he wanted out and had made that known to the Warriors brass. But he signed a three-year contract extension in November and is someone the Warriors consider an integral part of their long-term plans.
"It's not about a decision I made," Jackson told the magazine while with former Warriors teammate Al Harrington at an event sponsored by their shoe company. "It's just things are in the air right now. I really can't get too much into it right now, but I'm just looking to go somewhere where I can go and win a championship."
The team initially had no comment on Jackson's remarks, but Riley said Monday this isn't the first time Jackson has expressed his desire to play for a winning team.
Riley didn't address whether the Warriors would look to trade him, though that could be a tough task considering Jackson is 31, fiery and has a reputation for questionable behavior.
Jackson averaged 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 59 games last season.
Since Jackson arrived in the Bay Area in a trade with the Indiana Pacers in January 2007, he has been a key piece for coach Don Nelson and a major spark for the Warriors. He helped the team end a 12-year playoff drought that year and reach the postseason's second round.
"As far as his remarks on playing for a championship, that's not the first time we've heard it because that's the goal that he sets for himself and his teammates every season," Riley said. "That's the type of confidence that he exudes as a player and the reason that he has endeared himself to our fans. That's who Stephen Jackson is. ...
"We have always understood his desire to contend with the NBA's best. That's an aspiration that is shared by our entire organization. We will continue in our quest to achieve that goal, and to be aggressive in pursuit of those results."
The Warriors shocked Dallas in the 2007 playoffs, Golden State's lone postseason trip since 1994. The 2008 squad barely missed the postseason despite winning 48 games, the most by a non-playoff NBA team in a quarter-century.
Riley, previously an assistant general manager since last November, was promoted to GM in May when the team cut ties with Chris Mullin, executive vice president of basketball operations.