The Oklahoma City Thunder were expected to latch onto their 16-man roster after the conclusion of the March 25 deadline — but eleven days later — that’s not the case.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Justin Jackson’s chapter with the Thunder, has come to a close, being waived by the franchise.
Justin Jackson’s departure may seem perplexing on the surface, but given Sam Presti’s transparency with his players, there’s much more cohesion to this move.
Jackson has been played sparingly across the course of the season, playing third fiddle at both forward positions for a mere 33 appearances. When given the opportunity, Jackson has averaged 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists shooting 30.4% from downtown on 3.4 attempts.
On paper, the former-five star would be deserving of a larger role with the roster; however, his timeline is on a much different path than the franchise. At 26-years-old, Jackson eclipses the Thunder’s youth movement transpiring on the roster making him nonessential to their rebuild. When you also take into account Jackson’s upcoming free agency, it’s apparent Jackson wants to make an imprint heading into the summer — Oklahoma City cannot provide that.
The Thunder will buyout Jackson’s remaining $5.0 million contract, opening their main roster to 14, while maintaining an extra two-way spot opened last week.
In regards to what’s next for Justin Jackson, it appears his agent’s line will be busy. March reports expressed contending teams were inquiring over the forward, but nothing came to fruition. Now with Jackson on the market, it’s to be assumed a deal will come to fruition.
Jackson will have four days to sign on to a contending team for playoff eligibility.