Spurs waive Stephen Jackson

Updated: April 13, 2013, 12:10 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

The San Antonio Spurs have abruptly waived veteran forward Stephen Jackson in a move coach Gregg Popovich described Friday as "best for our group."

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com the Spurs came to the conclusion this week that it was best to release Jackson -- even at this unusually late date -- to try to "move forward" with the players who will be in Popovich's playoff rotation.

Jackson
Jackson

Popovich told local reporters Friday night before San Antonio's home game against Sacramento that it was a "tough decision because, on a personal basis, I've known (Jackson) a long time and I enjoy him very much."

"But you've got to make decisions that are tough sometimes," Popovich said, describing it as both "a basketball decision and a family decision."

Jackson had largely fallen out of San Antonio's main rotation and thus had team officials privately concerned that the 13-year veteran's "strong personality," as one source put it, would create extra locker-room tension that the Spurs don't need at a time they're already concerned about the health of stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili heading into the playoffs.

NBA rules stipulate that any player released after March 1 is not eligible to appear in the playoffs with another team, meaning that Jackson's season is effectively over.

He could sign with a new team after clearing waivers next week but would not be allowed to appear in the postseason with a new club.

Jackson was a member of San Antonio's title team in 2003 and was reacquired in March 2012 in a deadline-day trade with Milwaukee. He averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.5 minutes in 55 games this season.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics