According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers have agreed to re-sign veteran point guard Reggie Jackson to a one-year deal. Jackson signed with the Clippers mid-season last year after being bought out of his contract with the Detroit Pistons, and was with the team in the Orlando bubble.
Jackson got off to a strong start with the Clippers in the regular season playing alongside Lou Williams on the team’s second unit, but struggled with his decision-making in the bubble and was ultimately unable to stay in the playoff rotation. Originally starting at point guard for the injured Patrick Beverley in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, he was benched for young shooting guard Landry Shamet and ultimately played himself out of the rotation entirely against the Denver Nuggets when Beverley returned. Offensively he was regularly over-aggressive, forcing bad shots and turnovers instead of deferring to the Clippers’ better players. Defensively, he was energetic but ineffective as former coach Doc Rivers seemingly miscast him as someone who was a defensive asset rather than a defensive liability.
While he shot the ball well from deep with the Clippers–41.3% in 17 regular season games and 53.1% in his 12 playoff appearances–his career average is just 33.7%, so expect some steep regression over a full-season sample size if he is a mainstay in the Clippers’ rotation. Speaking of being a rotation mainstay, don’t put too much stock in Woj’s use of the word “prominent” to describe Jackson’s anticipated role. While Reggie would figure to be a bigger part of the Clippers’ plans if Lou Williams were to be traded, this isn’t a strong enough indication to suggest a move might be coming. Contract leaks routinely come from agents who want to make it sound like they got good deals for their clients. For a veteran point guard like Jackson, who is in his theoretical prime at 30 years old and has been a starter for most of his career, a minimum-salary deal for a third string role has to be less than he was hoping for. Until we actually see Ty Lue overplay him, I’m willing to gamble that “prominent role” is just agent spin.
This one-year deal for Jackson is almost certainly for the veteran’s minimum, as the Clippers have very limited money left available to them under the league’s hard cap. While LAC technically has Reggie Jackson’s non-bird rights to offer him a contract similar to the one they gave Patrick Patterson, they simply do not have the hard cap flexibility to offer it to him unless they were to make a trade that reduced their salary obligations. Instead, this is likely a veteran’s minimum contract that will carry a $1.6M cap hit. Along with the impending addition of Nicolas Batum after he clears waivers, the Clippers now have basically one obvious path to entering the season under the hard cap: cut Joakim Noah, cut Ky Bowman (who was recently signed to a non-guaranteed deal for training camp), and add Jackson and Batum into those two salary slots.
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