If there was one San Antonio Spurs player who you could say actually played really well in the Western Conference Finals consistently, it was forward Stephen Jackson. Jackson was productive not only in the Spurs’ first two wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also played his tail off in the four straight losses that eventually ended the Spurs’ season.
Jackson went from averaging 1.3 points per game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the series before, to averaging 11.8 points against the Thunder. Jackson’s last performance, game six in Oklahoma City, was his strongest as he kept the Spurs in the game by scoring 23 points and knocking down 6-of-7 3-pointers.
With Jackson set to make 10.1 million in this coming season, which is the last year of his contract, the usual expectation would be for Jackson to already start asking for an extension. But (via to SLAM Online) Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express News, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made it clear to Jackson the Spurs wouldn’t be offering an extension when they traded for him back in March.
So Popovich laid out his priorities. He told Jackson he wanted his toughness, and there could be minutes for him. But Popovich also told him he liked Kawhi Leonard as his small forward, and nothing would be guaranteed. Then, Popovich said something else. ‘We’re not talking about an extension.’ This is the power of clarity and honesty. Popovich does it as well as anyone, and it’s a reason Jackson has said Popovich connects with him better than any other coach has.”
At the end of his article, Harvey puts that he thinks that the Spurs might offer Jackson a contract extension sometime next season as long as he continues to do what the team asks of him.
Jackson is 34 years old and with a full season with the Spurs, he’ll get a steady amount of minutes to backup or play alongside Leonard. Since Jackson’s considered one of the older guys with the club, he might even be considered for rest on back-to-back nights this coming season. Either way, Jackson’s play this coming season will project what his future will be with the franchise.
From what I saw and heard from Jackson this past season, he was very grateful to be back in San Antonio. There’s one coach he plays for nonstop, and I think he’ll continue this trend so long as Coach Pop is the man delivering the orders.