The Suns, who bolted to a 31-4 start but had lost five straight
going into Friday night's game against San Antonio, sent swingman
Casey Jacobsen, 23, and forwards Maciej Lampe, 19, and Jackson Vroman, 23, to the Hornets.
The 34-year-old Jackson will replace Jacobsen as the sixth man
for the Suns, playing both small forward and guard. The Suns, who
also received a second-round draft pick, will be Jackson's 12th
team in 13 seasons.
"Jim Jackson adds significant depth to our roster and should
significantly increase our bench productivity," Suns president and
general manager Bryan Colangelo said. "He is a savvy vet whose
game fits our system well."
Before the trade, the Suns had the youngest team in the NBA, a
factor that was evident in the recent losing streak, when Phoenix
struggled to score without point guard Steve Nash.
"It brings a veteran, tested 15-point scorer off the bench," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We had to address that problem."
D'Antoni said the move shows that the Suns are no longer a team building for the future.
"We want to win right now," he said, "and this will help us win right now."
Jackson, who has a career average of 15.2 points in 805 NBA games, was acquired by New Orleans in late December in a trade that sent longtime Hornets guard David Wesley to Houston. But Jackson refused to report to New Orleans, saying he did not want to start
over with a rebuilding team.
The Hornets suspended Jackson without pay, meaning he has forfeited more than $302,000 in salary for the 11 games he has missed. While Phoenix took a 31-9 record -- second-best in the NBA -- into Friday night's game, the Hornets have the NBA's worst record at 6-32.
"This was a trade just waiting to happen," Hornets general manager Allan Bristow said. "It was made clear [Jackson] was not going to be here. And with another team's misfortune -- with
injuries in Phoenix or what have you -- we were able to pull this thing off."
The Suns are the league's most prolific 3-point shooting team, and that is one of Jackson's strengths. The 6-foot-6 Jackson made a career-high 162 3-pointers last season, ranking sixth in the NBA.
He becomes the oldest player on the Suns' roster.
The move has multiple benefits for Phoenix. Jackson would immediately give the Suns a veteran scoring option off the bench and also give coach Mike D'Antoni a ready-made replacement for Joe Johnson if the Suns can convince Philadelphia to part with center Samuel Dalembert in a swap for Johnson.
Colangelo, however, shot down speculation that Jackson's signing precludes trading Johnson.
"That's absolutely not the case," Colangelo said. "This was
done to deepen our team, deepen our bench and get that much more
New Orleans, meanwhile, jumped at the opportunity to acquire three young players for Jackson, who made it clear that he was prepared to forfeit his salary (roughly $27,500 per game) for the rest of the season before he'd ever play a game for the Hornets.
Jackson was averaging 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds this season with Houston. He also has played for Dallas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Golden State, Portland, Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami and Sacramento. He signed with the Rockets as a free agent before last season.
Jacobsen was a first-round pick of the Suns, the 22nd selection
overall, in 2002. He was averaging 5.3 points and had played in all
40 games this season.
The 6-foot-11 Lampe, one of the league's youngest players, was
acquired by the Suns in the eight-player trade that sent Stephon
Marbury and Penny Hardaway to the New York Knicks last season. He
averaged 2.8 points per game in 16 appearances this season.
Vroman was acquired in a draft-day deal with the Chicago Bulls,
who chose him in the second round, the 31st pick overall. The
hustling, 6-foot-10 forward averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in
10 games, including one start.
To make room on the roster, the Hornets waived forward Matt
Freije and guard Junior Harrington. Phoenix was expected to sign
forward Paul Shirley, waived by the Suns just before the season
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.