Reggie Jackson Trade: Will the Oklahoma City Thunder regret trading Reggie Jackson?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are unlikely to reach a contract extension with guard Reggie Jackson before the NBA's deadline Friday Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The Oklahoma City Thunder are unlikely to reach a contract extension with guard Reggie Jackson before the NBA's deadline Friday Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oklahoma City Thunder made another bold move with the Reggie Jackson trade. We’ll see if it pays off for them, Cotton

At what seemed like the last-minute of the NBA‘s trade deadline, the Oklahoma City Thunder dealt point guard Reggie Jackson to the Detroit Pistons for D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler, and Steve Novak. In the deal, Kendrick Perkins was also sent to the Utah Jazz, sending Enes Kanter to OKC.

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There’s no doubt in my mind that trading Perkins was the right move, especially for Kanter, who is, at least, ten times the offensive threat Perkins has ever been. Even with all Jackson’s issues with the team, I don’t know if I can get behind OKC trading him.

It’s no secret Jackson wanted to be traded. He wasn’t getting along with the coaching staff. He wanted a bigger role as the starting point guard, and he turned down a four-year, $48 million contract, which is proof the Thunder wanted to keep him.

It may have never worked out for Jackson in Oklahoma City; however, that doesn’t mean the Thunder should have given him up without getting a proven player in return.

As much as I hate to say it, meaning I actually love to say it, this trade feels a little Harden-esque to me.

Like with James Harden, OKC already had the player they wanted and needed, yet they traded him away because the he didn’t fit, financially. Jackson, likely, could demand more on the open market with the salary cap increases than the $48 million OKC offered, and he was going to take that chance in free agency anyway. Because OKC couldn’t let Jackson walk for nothing, OKC and general manager Sam Presti had to make a deal, and make a deal, he did.

Of course, I’m not comparing Jackson to Harden. It’s not even close, but the idea that OKC traded the player they need is too similar not to discuss.


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Although Jackson has struggled this season and was only averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 assists per game when the Thunder traded him, the Thunder need a point guard who can run an offense and let Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook work off the ball. Jackson could do that, and he could score when he needed to.

In the best game of his short career, Jackson scored 32 points in a pivotal Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs last season. That happened. It wasn’t some fluke; it was a breakout performance. Later in the playoffs, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, Jackson scored 21 points and played 46 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder were eliminated in the game, but over that run, Jackson proved to everyone, including Scott Brooks that he was worthy of the starting point guard spot.

Unfortunately, Brooks and the Thunder didn’t see it that way. They saw Jackson as a role player, making his impact with the second unit while Durant and Westbrook rested, often, together. Of course, that would make any player upset, and now, the Thunder are stuck with D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler as they make their run at the playoffs.

We can go back and forth all day about whether D.J. Augustin is a “proven” player, but the fact remains Augustin has never been that good as a backup point guard, especially in Indiana, Toronto, and Detroit while Brandon Jennings was injured.

I have my reservations about whether or not Augustin can fit into a role where he doesn’t have the ball in his hand. I also have reservations about OKC’s philosophy on players.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Augustin, Singler, and Kanter will play a role down the stretch and throughout the playoffs. Looking at Singler and Augustin, however, I don’t see how they fit into OKC’s lineup.

The game is 48 minutes, so there’s plenty of time to spread around, especially with OKC’s rather inexperienced bench. In crunch time, the time of the game where games are won, especially in the playoffs, who is Oklahoma City going to have on the floor? Are any of them a better third-scoring option than Jackson, especially in the half court?

OKC’s Crunch Time Lineup

G: Russell Westbrook

G: D.J. Augustin/Dion Waiters

F: Kevin Durant

F: Serge Ibaka/Kyle Singler

F: Steven Adams/Enes Kanter/Ibaka

And, that doesn’t even include Andre Roberson or Anthony Morrow for shooting purposes.

The point is OKC traded a guy who has been there, in the fire, in the playoffs for two, three if you count Kanter, guys who haven’t been there and don’t really add anything in terms of a scoring punch.

Kanter can score, but he’s never played in a big game in his life. How will he hold up against Memphis with March Gasol and Zach Randolph, Portland with LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, and Chris Kaman, Los Angeles with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, or Golden State with Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, David Lee, and Marreese Speights? Those are all valid questions.

As for Augustin and Singler, each have been known to knock down a couple 3-pointers here and there. Both are 37 percent 3-point shooters in their career, but they’re also low 40-percent shooters from the field. They might be able to save a game, maybe two, but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any monster performances from Augustin or Singler in the playoffs. Just a hunch.

Back to the original question, will OKC regret trading Reggie Jackson?

Honestly, I don’t think they will regret trading Jackson, as the trade was justified by Jackson’s attitude. On the other hand, Presti and the OKC front office need to realize the message they’re sending to some of these players by shuffling them around so often.

Players need consistency to keep them in a rhythm, a groove. Jackson proved in the playoffs last season that he was ready for a bigger role, and he even earned a bigger role. OKC and Scott Brooks wouldn’t give it to him.

Now, Jackson’s gone, and we’ll see how much it affects the Thunder down the stretch.

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