The Oklahoma City Thunder are not going to miss Reggie Jackson.
Their disgruntled backup point guard wanted out of town, wanted a team of his own to run. On Thursday, up against the trade deadline, Thunder management made that happen in a move that netted them D.J. Augustin (who right now is an upgrade — Augustin is a better shooter and a more steady veteran presence on the court).
That trade didn’t happen fast enough for Jackson’s taste — he refused to play in a game despite being healthy early in the season out of protest for still being on the Thunder, reports the fantastic Royce Young of ESPN.
Two days before the Thunder’s season opener in Portland, Jackson sprained his ankle and missed the team’s first two games. In their third game, the Nov. 1 home opener against the Nuggets, Jackson was cleared to play, but according to a source, refused to because of disappointment that he wasn’t traded before the Oct. 31 extension deadline for first-round picks entering their fourth season, like Harden before him. Jackson spoke at shootaround that morning, coyly saying he probably wouldn’t play that night. Immediately after finishing his session, he grabbed a ball and threw down an impressive drop-step windmill dunk — in front of reporters and his teammates.
That move speaks to Jackson’s maturity issues, which now fall to Stan Van Gundy. (Actually, Jackson will quickly learn SVG will not deal with them at all, he’ll just cut Jackson’s minutes.) Remember that at the point in the season we’re talking about both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were out injured. There was little chance the Thunder would trade a proven playmaker already on the roster at that point, they needed Jackson to help carry them through that stretch.
He did for a time, but as the season wore on — and especially after Westbrook and Durant returned — Jackson clearly just didn’t put in the effort. When focused he’s aggressive, but this season he’s settled for more pull-up jumpers. Or did. Again, Van Gundy is not going to put up with that.
There is no love lost between Jackson and the Thunder.
After a crazy trade deadline day was over Durant’s comment on the Thunder chemistry was, “We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy.”
As for Jackson, these were his first tweets after the trade.