Sign and trade: Jackson on way
Pacers deal Harrington to Hawks

By Mark Montieth
July 11, 2004

The Indiana Pacers are close to a sign-and-trade agreement with Atlanta that would send Al Harrington to the Hawks for Stephen Jackson.

The deal cannot become official until Wednesday, but Jackson and other league sources confirmed Saturday it is in the works.

"We're close and hopefully it will be done soon," Jackson told The Star on Saturday from his home in Port Arthur, Texas. "I'm definitely hoping it works out."

Jackson reportedly will sign a six-year contract worth $44 million with Atlanta and then be traded to the Pacers for Harrington, who has two years and $13.3 million left on his contract.

For the Pacers, the trade would alleviate an overcrowded situation at forward and add perimeter scoring and versatility.

Jackson, 26, averaged 18.1 points for the Hawks last season, his fourth in the NBA. He was a starting shooting guard on San Antonio's championship team two years ago, and averaged 12.8 points in the playoffs.

Harrington, 24, averaged 13.3 points in the regular season and 9.5 in the playoffs for the Pacers last season. He was runner-up to Dallas' Antawn Jamison for Sixth Man of the Year, but his desire to start led him to ask for a trade.

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh declined to comment on the trade until it becomes official.

"We've had discussions," Walsh said. "I'm not going to confirm or deny a deal."

Harrington was unavailable for comment, as were his agent, Andy Miller, and Jackson's agent, Dan Fegan. Jackson, however, is already envisioning how he'll fit in with the Pacers next season.

"I see myself coming in with a championship under my belt and bringing some attitude and passion for the game," he said.

The acquisition of Jackson will fuel speculation that he will replace Reggie Miller at starting shooting guard. Jackson said he is willing to play as a reserve.

"I'll leave it up to the coaches," he said. "I'm coming in wanting to learn from Reggie. I have nothing but respect for Reggie. If I come in off the bench behind Reggie I'll be happy."

The 6-8 Jackson listed the Pacers, San Antonio and Atlanta as his preferences after negotiations for free agents opened July 1. San Antonio, however, took itself out of the running by agreeing to terms with Manu Ginobili and Brent Barry.

Jackson met with Pacers officials in September when he was a free agent, but they did not want to risk paying the luxury tax at the time. He was paid $1 million by the Hawks last season.

The Pacers' chances of working a deal for Jackson were enhanced last week when the Hawks hired Mike Woodson as their coach instead of Pacers associate head coach Mike Brown. Brown worked with Jackson for two seasons in San Antonio, and the two have remained close.

"I learned more about basketball, about being a teammate on and off the court, from coach Brown," Jackson said.

He also is comfortable with Pacers coach Rick Carlisle.

"We have a great relationship," Jackson said. "That's another blessing."

Stephen Jackson file
Age: 26
Size: 6-8, 218
NBA career: Has played four seasons, one in New Jersey, two in San Antonio and one in Atlanta. Averaged career-high 18.1 for Hawks last season.
Previously: Attended Butler County (Kansas) Community College, but did not play basketball. Second-round draft pick of Phoenix in 1997, but was waived by Suns. Played for LaCrosse and Fort Wayne in CBA and in Venezuela. Signed by Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999, but was waived before the season. Signed by New Jersey in 2000 and averaged 8.2 points. Signed by San Antonio in 2001 and started on championship team in 2003, averaging 11.8 points.