The Clippers have added some depth to their point guard rotation, though nothing as dramatic as most fans were hoping for.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that Reggie Jackson is returning to the Clippers on a one-year deal, presumably for a minimum contract. Per Bobby Marks, the Clippers don’t presently have room to sign Jackson so they’ll have to waive Joakim Noah to finalize the move. Noah’s contract is non-guaranteed, and if he clears waivers, there’s a chance that he’ll also return to the Clippers. Once Jackson signs, the Clippers will have 14 guaranteed contracts plus Ky Bowman and the two two-ways.
Free agent guard Reggie Jackson is returning to the Los Angeles Clippers on a one-year deal, sources tell ESPN. Jackson is expected to play a prominent role in the Clippers backcourt rotation.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 2, 2020
Jackson debuted with the Clippers in February of last season after the Pistons bought him out, and he didn’t exactly impress. He played 17 games in the regular season, starting six in Patrick Beverley’s place, and averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 assists in 21.3 minutes per game. He also played in 12 of 13 playoff games, though his minutes fell to 14.2 per game.
He was an outstanding shooter in his time with the Clippers, connecting on 45.3 percent of his threes during his 29 total regular-season and postseason games. Alas, that wasn’t enough to overcome his suspect decision-making on both ends of the floor and his catastrophic defense. His play was passable during the regular season, but the Clippers put him in the starting lineup for one game in the playoffs before replacing him with Landry Shamet and then essentially excised Jackson from the rotation against Denver.
But the point guard market wasn’t particularly deep, and the Clippers clearly felt they needed one additional ball handler, especially if those Lou Williams trade rumors come to fruition. Perhaps the Clippers wanted some continuity with Jackson, or Paul George pushed for his signing considering the close friendship between the two. Jackson also played with Luke Kennard in Detroit for two-and-a-half seasons, so there is some familiarity there.
Whatever the impetus was for re-signing him, Jackson can be an average player if he continues to shoot at a high level, at least during the regular season. This is a move made for 72-game depth, not for a player who should be expected to contribute during the postseason. At this point in the offseason, that is sufficient value.
UPDATE (7:06 p.m. PT): The Clippers are indeed waiving Noah to sign Jackson. Noah is reportedly going to retire after a 13-year career with four teams.
Clippers are waiving center Joakim Noah -- and his agent, Bill Duffy of @BDA_Sports, tells ESPN that Noah is “likely headed toward retirement.” One of his era’s most ferocious competitors, Noah played 13 seasons, made two All-Star games and was a 3-time All-Defensive team choice.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 2, 2020