The Golden State Warriors traded swingman Stephen Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday for small forward Richard Jefferson and a conditional first-round draft pick this year.
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Golden State acquired Jackson — who helped the Warriors reach the second round of the playoffs in 2007 — and center Andrew Bogut from the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown. There was immediate thought that the Warriors would then try to deal Jackson by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
They were able to do it and got a much coveted first-round pick in the process. Golden State had previously agreed to send its first round pick to Utah if it is not in the top seven. The Warriors now will likely be back in the first round. San Antonio’s pick is lottery protected, but the Spurs are in second place in the Western Conference so that will probably not be an issue.
”We’ve been aggressive in the last 48 hours and feel this is another transaction that will benefit our team, both now and in the future,” general manager Larry Riley said. ”Richard Jefferson has played a key role and has been a solid contributor on some very successful basketball teams during his career. He has won a lot of games and will certainly provide our team with some veteran leadership and perimeter shooting skills. Additionally, as has been well-documented, we are in an unknown position in regards to our first round draft pick this season and are quite pleased to, potentially, acquire a pick in what is expected to be a pretty deep draft.”
The Warriors also acquired the rights to T.J. Ford, who announced his retirement earlier this week following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine.
The Warriors also acquired a second-round pick for this June’s draft from the Atlanta Hawks for cash considerations in an earlier deal.
Coach Mark Jackson spoke before the trade was announced in general terms about owner Joe Lacob and the organization’s commitment to building a playoff-caliber roster for the future. Golden State’s postseason run in ’07 is the organization’s lone playoff berth since 1994.
”One thing I will say is that we’ve made a commitment as an organization to do whatever we have to do to get to where we want to get to,” Jackson said after practice. ”These fans should be excited in knowing that that promise is true. It’s exciting to be part of it. … Again, doing whatever it takes to put ourselves in position to continue to get pieces to be the team we expect to be. It says a lot about this ownership. It’s just great to be part of it. I’ve seen the other side.”
Rookie Klay Thompson appreciates the efforts being made to upgrade the roster moving forward.
”I think Warriors management is doing a great job,” Thompson said. ”They’re not going to make any moves that are going to move this team backward. I’m happy with it, and I support whatever they do.”
The 31-year-old Jefferson is averaging 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season for the Spurs. He could be in the Bay Area in time for Friday night’s game against the Bucks, which will mark Ellis’ much-hyped, quick return to Oracle Arena in an opposing uniform.
”It’s going to be very odd,” Mark Jackson said of seeing Ellis and Udoh suit up for the Bucks. ”In my short period, obviously those are two guys that I love, developed great relationships with. I’m proud to say that I coached them. I have a lot to be grateful for them. It’s going to be different, but I’m going to be one of the people that’s going to be clapping for them. It will be my first time clapping. I never turn around when the other team is being introduced. I’m not sure whether I’ll turn around for those two guys, if they’re starting or when they come in, but I will be clapping, no question about that.”
Everybody knows he will try to go off for a big night against his former teammates – and Jackson is preparing for a defensive challenge. Ellis is averaging 21.9 points, 6.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds.
The Warriors will have a game plan for Ellis.
”He knows,” Jackson said, chuckling. ”The thing about it is it’s no secret. The guy is such a great player that we’ll defend him the way that everybody tried to defend him. He’ll have some success. It’s going to be a great challenge but we’re up for the challenge and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”