PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Warriors swingman Stephen Jackson wants some love, too.
Now that his teammates have been taken care of financially by the Warriors, Jackson — arguably the team's best player heading into next season — is looking for some financial security of his own.
Jackson, 30, has two years and $14.89 million left on his contract, $7.14 million this coming season. With point guard Baron Davis gone, only forward Al Harrington was budgeted to make more — that is until the Warriors started doling out cash this offseason.
Six years, $66 million to guard Monta Ellis. Six years, $54 million to center Andris Biedrins. Five years, $50 million to free-agent swingman Corey Maggette. As a result, Jackson will be the fifth-highest paid player on the roster next season. As far as total contract, he's sixth — behind Ronny Turiaf, who signed a four-year, $17 million free-agent deal.
"It's something I always think about," Jackson said from his basketball camp. "It's definitely something that has to be addressed because of what I do for this team and what I've done since I've been here, bringing this team from one of the bottom teams in the league to a playoff team, to a team that won 49 games. It's not what I want, it's what I deserve. "... I won't be comfortable going into this season knowing I have to play this whole season being the fifth highest-paid and not get an extension. I would not be happy."
Jackson can't jump up the pay scale this season, as the collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow midcontract changes in salary. But he is up for an extension, and he expressed confidence that he would get it.
"I feel real confident that I will have it soon," he said. "I will get something done soon, before the season starts. "... So in the position I'm in now, being the (sixth)-highest paid player, I feel like from the conversations I've had with the team that it won't be like that once the season starts."
The Warriors declined to comment on Jackson's extension possibilities, as per team policy.
Jackson was emphatic about his happiness in being with the Warriors. He said he was excited about the direction of the team and is looking forward to next season.
"Losing B.D. hurt me," Jackson said of Davis. "That's my boy — my brother more than my teammate. But the team we have, I'll definitely be the first to say that we're better than we were last year.
"I think we had what it takes last year," Jackson added, "but at the end of the season we ran out of gas. This year, I don't think we'll have that problem because we're a deeper team, a better team and we've got way more depth inside, way more scoring inside "... we should be straight. With the way we play, it should be easy to get accustomed to our style of play. So it's just all about us getting it done."
Jackson is embracing his expected role as unquestioned team leader. Davis was the focal point of the team and the one most responsible for making plays in crunch time. But with Davis gone, and Ellis still developing, Jackson said he expects to have to shoulder more of the burden, especially on offense and in late-game situations.
To that end, he's spent most of his summer in Port Arthur working on his strength and endurance so his body can withstand what it has coming.
"I've been waiting for this opportunity my whole life," Jackson said. "Every team I've been on, I've always made big shots. I don't mind stepping up and being responsible for whether the team wins or loses. I love it."
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