Jackson acquisition has risks, upside 

In November 2004, Stephen Jackson was a key participant in the melee that broke out at the Palace at Auburn Hills when Ron Artest went into the crowd. Jackson was suspended 30 games by the NBA for his involvement, and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in connection to the incident.

In October, Jackson allegedly fired a gun during a fight that broke out outside of an Indianapolis strip club, and presently faces charges regarding the incident.

And now Jackson is a member of the Warriors.

Jackson is a talented player, but its hard to ignore the other issues. What does it say about the Warriors that they were in a situation that forced them to add the controversial guard in hopes of becoming a better team?

Somewhere in those Golden State front offices, there was some serious second-guessing going on. The Richardson-Murphy-Dunleavy nucleus simply wasn’t good enough, even after adding Baron Davis, a roll of the dice in his own right.

This latest trade says the Warriors knew they were in quite a spot. They had reached a ceiling with the roster the way it was. So, they decided that taking on the character issues that come with Jackson was a worthwhile tradeoff in their quest to improve the roster.

Let’s give Chris Mullin credit for sensing an opportunity to put the team in a better position to improve. It remains to be seen if this attempt to improve the team is a case of pursuing talent at potentially a big, big cost.

The first thing worth watching will be to see how Jackson affects the rest of the roster. Teenager Monta Ellis is learning his way around the NBA, and now he has Jackson and Davis as the guys teaching him the ropes. Davis has never been in trouble, but he’s always been a handful for his coach.

» This weekend’s NFC Championship Game gives Niners coach Mike Nolan a great measuring stick for his team’s progress in 2007. Sure, they improved from 4-12 to 7-9, but they were beaten soundly by the two teams playing for the conference championship.

In Week 8, the Niners were beaten by the Bears 41-10 in Chicago. In Week 13, the Niners were beaten 34-10 by the Saints in New Orleans. A couple of clear indicators that Nolan’s roster still has some improving to do if they’re hoping to be a legitimate playoff team.

However, the 49ers are in a great spot to close the talent gap. They’ve got plenty of cap room, young players who figure to improve, and the Saints and Bears figure to see their rosters raided a bit this offseason. Should be interesting to follow.

» Just for the record: Saints over the Bears. Colts over the Patriots. Both games feature great subplots and side stories.

Tim Liotta hosts the weekend edition of "Sportsphone 680" on KNBR (680 AM).

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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