Reggie Jackson has been vocal about his displeasure with his role since the summer, and looking to make a good impression as he heads into restricted free agency this summer, the guard has requested a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder per Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Yahoo Sources: The agent for Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson has requested a trade to Thunder management. http://t.co/gvLmtHbQ8W— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 18, 2015
Jackson has long wanted to be a starter in the league, but Russell Westbrook's presence on the roster has made it difficult. His own play hasn't been great this season – he's averaging 12.8 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field, and his defense has slipped. The Thunder were compelled to trade a first-round pick for Dion Waiters earlier in the season. Since Waiters' arrival, Jackson is averaging just 20.0 minutes in 18 games (compared to 32.4 in the 32 games prior).
There were reports of issues with Jackson's attitude in the locker room, which the acquisition of Waiters most likely didn't help with. Talking to reporters today, Jackson gave this thinly veiled answer:
Asked if he wants to be with the Thunder, Jackson said, "I would love to play basketball."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 18, 2015
Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy reports that teams interested in the Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic may turn to Jackson as a consolation prize. Among teams interested in Jackson are the Denver Nuggets:
Sacramento, Houston, Indiana, Milwaukee, Boston, etc. may pursue Reggie Jackson. Teams that miss on Dragic could turn attention to Jackson.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 18, 2015
The Thunder are known to have interest in Nuggets wings Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, with both players resembling the 3-and-D archetype that the Thunder could cleanly fit into their rotation.
Trading Jackson is easier said than done, however. The Thunder could combine him with other expendable contracts (Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones) to dip back under the luxury tax threshold, which they're currently $2.3 million over. That being said, giving him up without getting back a player that can contribute meaningfully this season is a risky proposition.
Adding Waiters hasn't helped with the Thunder's shaky bench production, and while Jackson hasn't been part of the solution, he remains a talented player and key rotation cog that has produced in the playoffs before. Aside from the delightfully speedy but not particularly talented Ish Smith, Jackson is also the only point guard on the bench.
While Jackson's rookie contract expires this summer, whichever team trades for him can make a qualifying offer that will give them the right to match any offer sheet Jackson signs in the summer. The Thunder would most likely have a difficult time fitting Jackson's next contract, which would likely run eight figures per year, into their cap sheet while still avoiding the tax.