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Published: Saturday, 1/15/2005

Jackson: No retirement, but no New Orleans

BY JOHN HARRIS
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST
Jackson Jackson
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In his first public comments since being traded last month by the NBA's Houston Rockets to the New Orleans Hornets, Toledoan Jim Jackson said he was "surprised and disappointed" because neither team consulted him prior to the trade.

Jackson, who was suspended by New Orleans for failing to report following the Dec. 27 trade, has lost a total of $220,000 - $27,500 per game - for the eight games he has missed. Jackson is scheduled to earn $2.4 million this season.

"I was totally surprised. Surprised and disappointed," said Jackson, who returned to Toledo on Thursday.

Relocating to New Orleans holds no interest for Jackson, a 34-year-old former Ohio State standout who would be playing for his 11th NBA team in 13 seasons.

Jackson said he won't play for the Hornets, but another trade may be in the works that could be more to his liking.

"No disrespect to the Hornets, but starting over is not what I want to do," he said.

Jackson, after signing a three-year deal a year ago with Houston after playing for four different teams the previous three seasons, had finally started to relax.

He averaged 12.9 points and a career-high 6.1 rebounds while playing a career-high 3,119 minutes his first season in Houston. He also ranked sixth in the NBA with a career-high 162 3-pointers.

In 24 games this season, Jackson averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds.

He had become the Rockets' unofficial team leader, an experienced voice on a team featuring Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming.

But the Rockets, despite pulling off a blockbuster trade for McGrady, were struggling in the rugged Western Conference.

Jackson's short-term contract made him inviting to a team like New Orleans that was looking to shake things up.

In his last game with the Rockets, Jackson scored a team-high 21 points in a win over the Clippers.

The next day, Jackson and Bostjan Nachbar were traded to New Orleans for David Wesley.

Jackson took the trade hard because he said management had given him no indication he would be dealt.

Responding yesterday to an interview request, Jackson said, "Being traded is not the bad part. The trade part is all part of the NBA. I was supposed to be held in high regard. They [Rockets management] always communicated with you. So why not communicate with you now?"

Jackson, who owns businesses and restaurants in several cities, said he's willing to stay out for however long is necessary. He said the loss of salary will not change his mind about playing for the Hornets, who own the NBA's worst record.

"It's not about the money," he said.

Jackson also said he isn't considering retirement.

"That's not something I've looked at," said Jackson, who has another year left on his contract after this season.

Although preferring not to be specific, Jackson said he hopes to be playing for another team.

NBA rules state Jackson cannot be packaged in a trade within 60 days of the Dec. 27 trade. But Jackson alone can be traded for a player or players that match his salary.

Newspaper reports this week in New Jersey and Washington indicate the New Jersey Nets are interested in acquiring Jackson for draft picks and cash. The Nets are interested in Jackson because Richard Jefferson suffered a season-ending injury.

It's a trade that would reunite Jackson with former Dallas Mavericks teammate Jason Kidd.

Kidd and Jackson didn't see eye-to-eye in Dallas, but Kidd seemed to welcome a possible reunion.

"Oh, yeah - Jimmy can definitely help, because he's a very versatile player," Kidd told the Newark Star-Ledger.

Jackson was also mentioned in a proposed trade with Denver that was shot down by Hornets general manager Allan Bristow.

Miami is another possible destination for Jackson. Jackson, who played for the Heat in 2001-02, was a surprise spectator at a recent Heat-Knicks game in Miami.

John Harris is The Blade's sports columnist.

Contact him at:

jharris@theblade.com

or 419-724-6354.



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