The Oklahoma City Thunder, the Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jazz are finalizing a three-team deal. Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson will go to the Detroit Pistons, while Kendrick Perkins will go to the Jazz and D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler go to the Thunder, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and NBA.com's David Aldridge. Draft picks are also involved in the trade, with the Jazz getting a first-round pick from the Thunder and a second-round pick from Detroit.
Jackson asked for a trade earlier this week after seeing his role decrease with the arrival of Dion Waiters, while Kanter did the same after his future with the Jazz seemed in question thanks to Rudy Gobert's emergence. The Pistons were in need of a playmaker after Brandon Jennings' Achilles tendon injury and secured one in Jackson.
The trade helped the Thunder complete a full overhaul as they make a playoff push following the deal for Dion Waiters earlier in the season. For the Jazz, the trade is all about opening up minutes for Gobert. The Pistons are clearly all in on making the playoffs and have a future point guard in Jackson.
Let's explore it.
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What are the Thunder getting?
Kanter has been productive this year despite being part of a crowded, and talented front line. He's averaging 14 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes per game. The No. 3 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft is still just 22, but has the talent to help a team right away. He can score from close and has recently worked on extending his range, taking 41 three-pointers this season after shooting a combined three in his first three years in the league. The Thunder are surely hoping he can make a leap similar to the one Serge Ibaka made in terms of outside shooting.
The problem with Kanter is on defense. He allows a very high 57.5 percent on shots at the rim he defends and he can't guard quick players outside. He's especially bad defending the pick-and-roll, where he allows the ball handler to score on 44 percent of the possessions he defends, according to Synergy Sports.
Still, anyone his age and with his size (6'11, 245-pounds), is a player worth taking a shot on. An improvement on the defensive end of the court could very well still be on the way and the Thunder have the players to cover for him if it doesn't immediately in Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams.
Augustin salvaged his career last season as a member of the Bulls, putting up solid numbers under Tom Thibodeau, which earned him a multi-year contract with the Pistons. He has been a part of five teams already but is still young at 27 years old and is having a career year. Augustin has been starting for the Pistons since Jennings' injury and has filled in admirably, averaging 20.3 points, and 7.2 assists in the last 10 games on 40 percent shooting from outside.
His proficiency as an outside shooter makes him the perfect fit for the Thunder, who will likely have him playing off the ball more often than not. He essentially replaces Jackson in the rotation, bringing in a skillset that complements the rest of the key players well, which means the Thunder should suffer no drop off offensively with the trade. Defensively Augustin is not great but he can be hidden and the mistakes he makes will be erased by Ibaka.
What are the Jazz getting?
The Jazz had no choice but to trade Kanter after he asked out. He is about to become a restricted free agent and with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors clearly being the big man tandem of the future in Utah, matching an offer on Kanter would have made no sense. Trading him now allows them to hand over the starting spot to Gobert while clearing Steve Novak's contract off the books. The Jazz will also receive draft picks, which will help them continue to accumulate young talent. It's not glamorous but it is a smart trade for Utah.
What are the Pistons getting?
Reggie Jackson has emerged as key cog in an often depleted Thunder lineup over the past two seasons. His breakout came in the 2012 playoffs, when he stepped in for the injured Russell Westbrook and averaged 14 points and four assists per game. He followed that by putting up nearly identical numbers the following season, his first playing major minutes in the NBA. In November, with Westbrook and Durant out, he averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 assist, proving he's a viable starting point guard capable of handling a heavy offensive load.
Despite that early-season stint, this year has been a struggle for Jackson. His looming restricted free agency and publicly-stated desire to start helped lead to a strange atmosphere around the Thunder. His three-point shot (21 percent) has also fallen off after improving in that department last season (34 percent). The Waiters trade made him expendable but he will finally have the chance to have the large role he always craved in Detroit. Jackson's length and ability to finish at the rim makes him an intriguing long-term prospect, and he's still only 24 years old, which works perfectly with the Pistons' timeline.
Who are the other guys in the trade?
Singler is a solid wing who is averaging 7.1 points on 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He doesn't do any one thing exceedingly well but can space the floor without requiring touches, something the Thunder could use. The 26-year-old forward will become a restricted free agent next offseason, meaning he will have the chance to audition for a job with the Thunder on the next couple of months.
Novak is a deadly shooting specialist, with a career average three-point shooting percentage of 43 percent. Unfortunately, that's the only thing he does at even an average level. His one of the worst rebounding power forwards in the league and he can't defend any position. As a result, he has only appeared in 22 games for the Jazz this season and averages five minutes per game. His contract runs one year after this season, which means he was the price the Thunder had to pay to get Kanter.
Perkins served as the elder statesmen and spiritual leader on the Thunder's roster for the past few years but with Durant and Westbrook maturing and a defensive culture already established, he wasn't needed any more. Perkins remains a solid defender who can protect the rim and guard the post but his limited offensive game and proneness to foul makes him better suited for a bench role, which he was relegated to this season thanks to the improvement of Steven Adams. He's expected to be bought out by the Jazz.