The San Antonio Spurs made a shocking roster move with about a week left to go before the Playoffs begin. The West's second-best team waived veteran forward Stephen Jackson.
A report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said the Spurs were mulling the move over for some time and eventually the decision was made to let him go. Reportedly Jackson was upset over his lack of playing time.
Before Friday's game against Sacramento, Gregg Popovich told Paul Garcia of Project Spurs (among the media at the game) that waiving Jackson was a decision made for the best of the team:
We’re getting ready for the playoffs and putting our team together, and what we want to do and who we want to do it with, and we thought that making this decision with Jack was best for the group.
Doing this so close tot he beginning of the Playoffs raises some red flags concerning Jackson. San Antonio has the depth to sustain this loss and Jackson was not playing much anyway, averaging 6.2 points per game in 19.5 minutes per game.
This move means more weight falls on Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to hold down the small forward spot for San Antonio for the Playoffs ahead. Even if the Spurs had no intention of bringing Jackson back, it says something that they could not even see him contributing to the team in practice for the Playoffs.
San Antonio seemed to be excising a tumor by making this sudden move. That might be harsh as Popovich has had some very kind words for Jackson and teammates generally love the veteran forward. But the timing suggests that something more was up that necessitated a move like this.
The bad part for Jackson is that he will not be eligible for the Playoffs now and his career seems likely over with another team having late-season issues with him after he faced trouble in Indiana and Milwaukee earlier in his career.