After five days of held breaths, Clipper fans can finally exhale knowing free agent point guard Reggie Jackson will be returning to LA.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that Jackson will be re-signing with the Clippers on a two-year, $22 million deal—the most LA can offer with his early Bird rights.
The news doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Clippers’ rookie Jason Preston stated recently that Jackson had been practicing with the team quite often the last few days. The New Orleans Pelicans reportedly had interest in Jackson, but after they signed former Charlotte Hornet Devonte’ Graham, it seemed like LA would be Jackson’s best option in terms of both salary and playing time.
With Kawhi Leonard (still no word on his signing) potentially out for the entirety of the 2021-22 season, Jackson will remain as essential as he was throughout LA’s Western Conference Finals run. Jackson was spectacular as a second option behind Paul George, averaging 20.3 points per game on 46.3% shooting during their series against the Phoenix Suns. This level of production might be a lot to ask of Jackson to replicate over the course of an 82-game season, but Head Coach Tyronn Lue has done an excellent job of putting him in a position to succeed.
Jackson elected to sign a two-year deal rather than a four-year deal, which would’ve been the longest contract LA could offer and would’ve netted him the most guaranteed money. It is unclear whether Jackson was offered a four-year deal and elected to bet on himself, or if LA was hesitant to offer such a lengthy deal.
Leonard is now the last domino to fall in terms of LA’s re-signings. They’re currently 3-3 in terms of retaining their potential free agents, as Serge Ibaka opted into the final year of his contract and Nicolas Batum signed a new two-year deal on Monday.
It is widely expected that Leonard will re-sign on a two-year deal as well.