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Reggie Jackson says he wants to start for Thunder, which sucks when you’re behind Westbrook

Sep 3, 2014, 2:38 PM EST

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three Getty Images

Reggie Jackson really blossomed for Oklahoma City last season — he ran the team well when asked to start, he had career highs of 13.1 points and 4.1 assist per game, he had that key 32-point game against Memphis in the playoffs, and he shot 39.6 percent from three for them in the playoffs. As Thabo Sefalosha faded it was Jackson that filled the gap for OKC.

Jackson wants to be a starter. He says it’s important to him.

There’s just one little problem — Russell Westbrook.

Jackson is good point guard but Westbrook is a Top 10 NBA player (at least, I’d rank him higher) with elite athleticism. Westbrook is a franchise cornerstone, a game changer.

So Jackson, how do you feel about being a sixth man again? Speaking with Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman Jackson emphasized starting was important to him.

“I don’t think about ever coming off the bench for any team. If that’s the role I’m put in, that’s what I’m put in. But since the day I thought about playing in the NBA, I’ve always been a starter. Everything I’ve thought about, whether it be middle school, high school, kids leagues, I never envisioned coming off the bench….

“For some people (starting is) important. To others it’s not. It’s very prideful for me. I feel like I’m very talented. I feel like I can lead a team. That’s just how I’ve been raised and that’s just how I’ve always felt. I want to be the guy in charge. I want to be the guy leading the team. The head of the snake.”

You have to love that attitude and drive in a player. You want a guy motivated like that.

Last season against the Spurs in the playoffs Jackson did start games in the backcourt with Westbrook. That could happen again, right now at the two there is Anthony Morrow and Jeremy Lamb for OKC. Coach Scott Brooks has some options to play around with and see what works.

That said, Reggie I’d like you to meet Kevin Durant. He’s the head of the snake.

Jackson could be a restricted free agent next summer, and if he gets to that stage he might get offers from teams that have a little cap space and see him as the starter. OKC would like to lock Jackson up with an extension, but at what price? Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones will be due raises in a year, plus you have to throw the max at Durant in 2016 and Westbrook in 2017.

Jackson said he saw the deals Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons got this summer — he sees young players getting paid and, of course, he wants to join that group (he’s not a max guy, but he is due a raise). He said he and the Thunder have talked extension (they have until Oct. 31 to get a deal), but it doesn’t sound close.

“We haven’t really talked about it much this summer. I know my representation and the Thunder have been talking. But mostly I haven’t really gotten to talk super much about it. I’ve been busy. I think we’re just trying to figure things out and hopefully we can get a deal done.”

My guess is the market is going to set Jackson’s price as a restricted free agent next summer. And it might be a price the Thunder aren’t willing to match. But only if Jackson has another year of growth in OKC, whether he starts or not.

  1. succulentnipples - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    Big John Football likes the thunder.

  2. chawbacon14 - Sep 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    But really, as to being a starter, what else is he gonna say ? Do you really want a young player who says he will be satisfied with a bench role ? Ya might hear that from an older vet, but from a young guy, ya want to see him have goals.

    In the end though, I agree, he’s gonna be an RFA next summer and the market will set his value, and it will most likely be higher than the Thunder will match, because some team will over pay him , not just to get a good player but to deplete the Thunder also.

    • bougin89 - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      IDK about a team stepping in and overpaying for him. We’ve seen guards strike out the last few years in restricted free agency. Jennings, Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas are all recent examples of guards not getting what they thought they’d get.

      • spursareold - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        You have no idea how cheap the Thunder REALLY are. I’d be shocked if they even matched an MLE offer. They dumped James Harden over a couple of million a season, and RJ is NO James Harden.

      • bougin89 - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        Reggie Jackson wouldn’t sign an offer sheet that low, that would instantly get him resigned to the Thunder for cheap.

        Teams know you have to go high in any offer to a restricted free agent in hopes the other team doesn’t match. Lately with the new CBA teams haven’t been making those high offers on these second(maybe third) tier guards.

      • chicagosports2014 - Sep 3, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        Bobby Shmurda

  3. avb300 - Sep 3, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    James Harden 2.0.This dude can ball.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Sep 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Does that mean he’ll be traded away so the oil tycoons can slurp up some more profit?

      • avb300 - Sep 3, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Let me clarify. I mean the situation is a sequel to how Harden left OKC. RJ is not better than Harden. RJ is a great shooter though and has elite athleticism.

        RJ prob should get 10+ million. He won’t though. Then he’ll end up getting traded for some assets.

        RJ is much better than Jennings and I think he’s close to a Bledsoe type player.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      All offense and ego, no D?

    • spursareold - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      RJ is a nice player, but he isn’t even 80% of James Harden. Not even on his best day.

  4. bbgraf08 - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Westbrook is not a top 10 player

    • 88heatnation - Sep 3, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      Name your Top Ten then

  5. j0esixpack - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Mr. October himself!

  6. jimb25 - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    There’s only one ball in play on the court, so… Just pass it to KD.

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Sep 3, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Reggie was starting besides Westbrook late last year right? That lineup looked a lot better than what they had. They’ve got to get the ball out of Westbrook’s hands every once in a while. He’s much better as a super aggressive 2-guard than as the guy setting up the offense.

  8. patfic5 - Sep 3, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Okc….a team more concerned with profits than rings.

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