By Randy Renner
Thunder backup point guard and who knows maybe soon to be starting shooting guard Reggie Jackson is back in town and hoping to stay here a good long while, like say another four or five years.
"That'd be the greatest thing," Jackson said about the possibility of signing a contract extension with the Thunder. "If it happens that'd be great and if it doesn't it doesn't and I'll have to find a way to put it behind me."
Jackson and new teammate Anthony Morrow spent a good chunk of their Tuesday afternoon aboard the Thunder Book Bus with students at the Positive Tomorrows school.
Jackson is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract and he and the Thunder have been talking about it off an on all summer.
"I'm just hopeful we can get things done by October 31st," Jackson said.
If not then Reggie will play this season under the last year of his current deal and become a restricted free agent next summer.
At the end of last season Thunder GM Sam Presti talked about how much the organization valued Jackson and said at the time the team hopes to re-sign him and did not have any plans to trade him if a deal isn't completed by Halloween.
Of course Presti said much the same thing about former Thunder sixth man James Harden before shipping him to Houston a couple seasons ago and Harden then, like Jackson now, expressed a strong desire to stay in Oklahoma City and get a new deal worked out.
However, Jackson now, even more so than Harden then, has made it clear he'd prefer to start rather than come off the bench and he's admitted to paying very close attention to some of the new contracts that have been signed this off season, like the 4-year, $64 million deal for Gordon Hayward to stay with the Utah Jazz and the 3-year, $45 million contract Chandler Parsons got from Dallas.
But the Thunder do have a starting spot up for grabs at shooting guard and they will have some extra financial flexibility next summer when Kendrick Perkins current deal ends, freeing up more than $9 million.
Contract concerns aside Jackson had a hard time not smiling when we saw him. He laughed and joked with the kids, the media and Morrow and said, "I'm just happy to be back, I'm ready to get things started. It's been great these last few days getting to know some of the new guys and then just seeing everyone else, my big guy, Perk. I just can't explain it, it's just a great feeling being around them. I'm just having fun and I'm happy to be back around these guys."
Jackson is hoping there will be plenty more of these happy homecomings but until a deal is done, doubts remain and distractions could follow.
"You guys in the media that's part of your job is to make it a distraction," Jackson said chuckling, "but yeah it might be. I can't say that I'm gonna ignore it completely, I'll do my best to do that but at the end of the day it's about trying to find ways to help your team get wins. But, I believe God has a plan for me and I hope things work out sooner rather than later. If they don't I've still gotta go out there and be the best basketball player I can be."