ST. FRANCIS - Another Milwaukee Bucks' practice, another Stephen Jackson absence.
For the last several days, Jackson, whom the Bucks acquired in a blockbuster three-team trade last June, has been virtually a spectator during team workouts.
Bucks officials said Jackson is experiencing back spasms and weren't sure when he would return to practice.
That may indeed be the case, but there are growing whispers that the 33-year-old Jackson isn't content with his current contract.
Jackson is the second-highest paid player on the Bucks this season at $9.26 million. Andrew Bogut is the highest paid Buck at $12.1M. Jackson is also guaranteed $10 million for next season.
League sources said Jackson sought a contract extension last season from the Charlotte Bobcats and that was one of the primary reasons they shipped him to Milwaukee.
Jackson made his feelings about a contract extension abundantly clear last June. After a formal press conference at the Bradley Center, Jackson said he fully intended to discuss a contract extension with Bucks officials, sooner rather than later.
When asked how important a contract extension was for him, Jackson responded, "It's mandatory.''
Jackson, who hasn't had an agent for several years, hasn't uttered a word about his contact status since the start of training camp. He was unavailable for interviews Thursday.
There is growing speculation, though, that Jackson is upset the Bucks haven't approached him about reconstructing his contract and that he was now going to approach them.
Jackson, the Bucks' projected starting shooting guard who averaged 18.5 points in 67 games last season, apparently wants another two years be tacked on to his current deal.
If the Bucks obliged, that would mean Jackson would be under contract through the 2014-2015 season. He would then be 36.
- Jon Leuer made a good, first impression.
The Bucks rookie forward from Wisconsin practiced with the team for the first time Thursday.
Leuer, who had played in Germany before the lockout ended, had been prohibited from practicing until receiving clearance from FIBA, which governs international basketball.
"He played well,'' Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Leuer, the team's 2011 second-round draft pick. "It was good to get another guy out there (on the court); it was good to get another big guy. He was good today.''
And what did Leuer think his indoctrination to NBA basketball?
"The first 10 minutes, I was a little nervous,'' Leuer said. "It was the NBA wow factor.''
- When the Bucks acquired Jackson over the summer, there were some observers who perceived Shaun Livingston as a "throw-in.''
Asked if the 26-year-old Livingston, a natural point guard who can also play the two and three spots, could help his team, Skiles didn't hesitate in responding: "No question. Absolutely. he will definitely help this team.''
- The Indiana Pacers appear to be the front-runners for Michael Redd.
Redd, the former Bucks standout shooting guard who is an unrestricted free agent, visited with Pacers officials Thursday. Redd also has drawn keen interest from Washington, New York and Boston.
- Bovada lists the Bucks as 100/1 to win the NBA title. The Miami Heat are the favorites at 9/4.