Monday morning, they sent Jackson, along with guard Acie Law, to the Charlotte Bobcats for guard Raja Bell and forward Vladimir Radmanovic.
"I'm happy for Jack," coach Don Nelson said. "Something had to be done. I'm happy with the trade. It was as good as we could do under the circumstances."
While Jackson's desire was to go to a contending team, his agent, Mark Stevens, told ESPN.com his client is more than OK going to the 3-6 Bobcats.
"He's happy about the trade, delighted about the trade," said Stevens. "This is what he wanted, a new start, and this gives him a chance to compete. Plus, he's a huge fan of that team's president, Michael Jordan."
The Warriors' biggest coup in this trade is the $21 million they cut off their salary cap, including nearly $5 million for next season.
Bell, who played for Nelson in Dallas in 2002-03, is in the final year of a contract worth $5.25 million which is some $3 million more than the expiring contract they gave up in Law. Radmanovic has two years left, including this one. Next season he has a player option (which he is expected to pick up) for $6.9 million, which saves Golden State $1.5 million off what they would've been paying Jackson.
Warriors general manager Larry Riley said the time was now to make a trade. He said he could've had more options if he waited until after Dec. 15, when free agents who signed in the offseason become tradeable, or closer to the trade deadline when teams are panicking or rebuilding. But Riley said Charlotte's offer was the best on the table, and he didn't want to risk the Jackson situation becoming untenable.
"I thought it was important to explore things as long as we possibly could and show some patience," Riley said. "I also thought it was important that we get something back that we could use to our advantage. But that's easy to say, but wasn't quite so easy to accomplish.
"I'm sure that a lot of people are going to say that the situation became one that they just couldn't go any farther," Riley added. "Really, I think we'd explored things enough that I did it more (because) I really felt that this was as good a deal as we were going to get. And I also thought the time was now. While our young players have done a tremendous job of doing everything that they can to not allow this to become a distraction, I also thought that if we went any further, it probably would've been. Now, was Jack giving me problems? No. Was he giving Nellie problems? No."
Jackson has been unhappy since July 2008, when the Warriors allowed point guard Baron Davis, the team's best player, to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Jackson's frustration grew when the Warriors traded his friend, forward Al Harrington, to the New York Knicks last November.
Jackson's desire to leave the Warriors became public knowledge this summer and he voiced his displeasure again during training camp. He's had a few run-ins with Nelson, one that got him suspended for two games during the preseason. While he had backed away from the more venomous comments, Jackson hardly withheld his desire to be traded and has been a constant topic of discussion across the country since.
Many thought Jackson would wind up being dealt to Cleveland, one of the places he said he wanted to go. But Cleveland wanted too much from the Warriors.
Riley declined to comment on other trade talks, citing team policy. But another team source confirmed that the Cavaliers were seeking a first-round draft choice in addition to Jackson and the Warriors weren't willing to give up pick.
Charlotte was the only other team that had an offer the Warriors were interested in, the source said. The Bobcats wanted something in addition to Jackson, and the Warriors finally agreed to part with Law, who is a $2.2 million expiring contract.
"It was difficult for me to put Acie in the deal because Acie's playing well and starting to show something," Riley said. "We just looked at the big picture and decided that the two players we were going to acquire, along with the cap (relief), that was enough."
Bell and Radmanovic are meeting the team in Cleveland tonight. Bell, who played 32 minutes in Charlotte's loss to Portland on Saturday, is not expected to play as the Warriors need to evaluate his left wrist. He's been playing with a partially torn ligament. He chose not to have surgery, which would've sidelined him for four months, so he could play. He could decide to have surgery now.
The Warriors are hoping Radmanovic can play Tuesday at Cleveland. Golden State is down to seven players, six if guard C.J. Watson (flu) isn't able to play. The Warriors are flying in Devean George and suiting up center Ronny Turiaf, just in case.
"We only had six people practicing today," rookie guard Stephen Curry said. "That was a whole different experience in and of itself. This is different. There are no trades in college. Everybody's happy to be where they are."