Pistons Keep Reggie Jackson With $80 Million Extension
Some weren’t so sure if the Detroit Pistons were ready to fully turn to Reggie Jackson as their new franchise point guard. Consider things cleared up.
Per reports, the Pistons have made sure Jackson isn’t going anywhere, as the two sides have agree to terms on a five-year, $80 million extension.
Jackson was acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season and paid off immediately thanks to former starting point guard Brandon Jennings going down with a torn Achilles. With Jennings suffering a career-threatening injury and Jackson exhibiting franchise star talent, Detroit clearly has made their decision in regards to the future of the point guard position.
It’s entirely too early to tell if this was the right move, but the Pistons had to either decide on Jackson as their franchise point guard, trade him or risk losing him for nothing after he became an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Detroit was certainly running out of options, as they traded away D.J. Augustin to get Jackson in the first place last year and they couldn’t know for sure what they’d have in a recovering Brandon Jennings. Jennings was making strides last year prior to his injury, but it was still debatable whether or not he was the man for the job and Jackson at least on the surface held plenty of potential to be the right fit.
A would-be black hole in OKC, Jackson did show increased scoring ability in his new role and was also an active play-maker in his first stint with the Pistons. Now more comfortable in the offense and probably a little more relaxed now that he knows he’s set financially, it’s entirely possible the 25-year old Jackson improves in his second year with the team.
Jennings a Goner?
This huge signing tells us two things: the Pistons see Jackson as their long-term savior at point guard and that it’s the exact opposite with Jennings. That has to mean at some point Jennings gets traded, as the two playing together doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jennings is a shoot-first point guard and is too thin and small to play the two, while Jackson is a ball dominant guard that just got paid to lead the offense.
The two together aren’t a fit and the Pistons have to know that. The kicker here is that Jennings still isn’t close to full strength, so it may take some time for him to work his way back to full health. That could have Detroit waiting so they can get maximum value on the trade market. It might not happen right away, but Jennings is paid too much to be a backup and he’ll want out once he’s capable of playing at a high level again. Expect teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets to show interest, provided Jennings is 100%.
Like with any major signing or move, the big question is if this helps the team’s playoff odds. The Pistons were already on the brink of pushing their way back to the playoffs a year ago, and the acquisition of Jackson was a big part of it. With him locked into a long-term deal, Detroit can fit the final pieces around him on the roster and finally start to see what kind of team they have.
Detroit’s playoff odds did take a minor hit when they let big man Greg Monroe walk in free agency, but the Pistons still have stud center Andre Drummond manning the middle and just drafted explosive swing man Stanley Johnson. The team also acquired versatile forwards Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova in trades, who could combine to help make up for the loss of Monroe and also make the Pistons a better offensive machine (both can shoot from outside).
The Pistons as we see them don’t look formidable, but the Eastern Conference is still fairly weak and we could be seeing the beginning stages of the Pistons rising up. That’s not likely to lead to a playoff trip for the 2015-16 NBA season, but the Pistons appear to be getting better, slowly but surely.
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