Reggie Jackson is staying with the team that he said helped save his career by agreeing to a two-year, $22 million deal with the LA Clippers, CAA Basketball agents Aaron Mintz and Erika Ruiz told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The free-agent point guard will be returning for the maximum that the Clippers can pay Jackson under the CBA rules.
Jackson revived his career this past season, stepping up offensively and hitting clutch shots to help the Clippers reach their first-ever Western Conference finals. After averaging 10.7 points and shooting 43.3% from 3-point range in the regular season, the 10-year veteran emerged as one of the Clippers’ playoff stars.
With Kawhi Leonard out for the Clippers’ final eight playoff games with a partially torn ACL, Jackson helped Paul George shoulder the offensive load, averaging 17.8 points and shooting 40.8% from 3-point range in the postseason.
In the West semifinals, Jackson scored 22 points to help the Clippers steal Game 5 in Utah before helping eliminate the Jazz in Game 6 with 27 points and 10 assists.
The point guard became a fan favorite, hearing chants of his name while averaging 20.3 points in the Western Conference finals.
Many expected Jackson’s playoff performance to raise his market value entering free agency. But Jackson acknowledged how much he loved playing for the Clippers when their season came to an end. In a teary-eyed and emotional postgame news conference after Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, Jackson thanked the Clippers and his teammates for helping him revive his career.
Jackson couldn’t hide his happiness playing alongside his best friend George.
“First thing I told these guys was thank you for saving me,” Jackson said. “Yeah, I appreciate every guy in that locker room, I appreciate Paul for getting on that phone last year, at the end the season [when I] was talking buyout with Detroit. I’m thankful for everything I’ve experienced being here, this city making me feel at home. This organization welcoming me, my quirks, my strengths, my weaknesses, I wonder if I would still be playing without this team. So, yeah, I thank them.”
With Jackson back, the Clippers hope to continue to keep their core intact by re-signing Leonard. Leonard declined his player option and became a free agent on Sunday. The expectation is that Leonard will negotiate a new deal to remain with the Clippers, Wojnarowski reported.
Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said after last week’s NBA draft that the team hopes to keep Jackson, Leonard, Nicolas Batum and Serge Ibaka. Ibaka opted into the second year of his contract and Batum agreed to return on a two-year deal.