Reggie Jackson has asked the Oklahoma City Thunder to trade him before Thursday's NBA deadline, reports Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Teams around the league became aware that Jackson's agent had made the request on his behalf and have been inquiring about the availability of the 24-year old guard.
The Boston Celtics appear to be one of the teams interested in acquiring Jackson, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Sources: Indy, Bos, Hou, Den all interested in Reggie Jackson. No guarantee OKC will trade him. They won't give him away.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 18, 2015
It remains to be seen if a Thunder team trying to fight their way into a postseason spot would be willing to give up Jackson. OKC has been ravaged by injuries this season and may covet having as much depth as possible. Jackson proved what he was capable of earlier this season while both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were sidelined, averaging 19.5 points and 7.5 assists in the month of November.
Jackson's production has taken a steep drop each month since the Thunder's stars have returned to the court and his role became even more marginalized when the team acquired Dion Waiters last month. There have also been rumblings that some of his teammates have become fed up with his questionable shot selection and decision making.
Making matters worse is that Jackson doesn't seem to want to be in OKC and is prepared to bolt this summer to join a team that will allow him to start and give him a larger role in the offense. They could match any offer Jackson receives in free agency, but doing so could make it difficult for the historically frugal Thunder to avoid the luxury tax. As it stands now, the Thunder are over the tax for this season and dealing Jackson could help them sneak back under.
The Celtics could slide Jackson's $2.2 million salary into the trade exception they created by shipping Austin Rivers to the Clippers, allowing them to acquire him without sending back equally salary. That would give a Thunder team always eager to save money some added incentive to trade with Boston and we know the Celtics have plenty of draft picks to offer in return.
We know Danny Ainge isn't afraid to trade for an impending free agent and Jackson is the type of young player with upside worth gambling on. The fact that he will be a restricted free agent makes him less of a risk to trade for than someone like Goran Dragic, since the Celtics would be able to match any other offers Jackson received this summer.
If the Thunder aren't being unreasonable in what they are asking for in return, why not spend one of those surplus draft picks to get a look at Jackson for the remainder of the season? If it doesn't work out, let someone else pay him a hefty contract in July. If they like how he fits with the young core they are building here in Boston, trading for him now gives them a tremendous advantage in keeping him for the long run.