Foster: Reggie Jackson’s deal worth a gamble

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

John Wall is right. He is a better basketball player than Pistons guard Reggie Jackson.

And in the grand scheme of things, he deserves a more lucrative contract.

But, he’s missing the big picture.

The Pistons must overpay to get guys they want — otherwise they won’t come to Detroit. If the Thunder, Suns or Trail Blazers had been calling Jackson, he never would have signed a five-year, $80 million free-agent deal with the Pistons.

“It gives me everything I always wanted, an opportunity to do something special,” Jackson said. “I think it is perfect timing, the economy (in Detroit) and everything. You want to make a difference, and hopefully I think this is something I can make a difference in.”

Simply, the Pistons must shower players with kindness — or in Jackson’s case, the keys to the franchise and a treasure chest full of riches — to attract players.

That’s why they get players like Josh Smith, who carries a lot of baggage, and backups like Aron Baynes.

They can’t sign guys like Wall.

“Everybody talking about me getting $80 million and you got people getting $85 and $90 million that ain’t been an All-Star or anything like that,” Wall said after a Wizards Summer League game in Las Vegas. “I guess they came in at the right time. The new CBA kicked in at the right time. That new CBA kicked in and they’re good now. Like, Reggie Jackson gets five years, 80. Like, I’m getting the same amount as Reggie Jackson right now.”

Timing is everything

But beware: Contracts will get sillier, and in time, Jackson will be underpaid.

It is about timing, and players never should complain about what others make because their time will come.

“It’s not what you’re worth, it’s what you can negotiate,” former Pistons forward John Salley often said.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Jackson is a bit of a gamble, but is one the Pistons are willing to take.

Jackson is the point guard of the future, and is willing to go through the Van Gundy boot camp to learn all about winning, playing and leading. He understands what people are going through here, and he embraces it.


“Detroit vs. Everybody.”

The Pistons players have taken to the mantra that’s seen on T-shirts around Detroit. They know they aren’t respected.

And now, it’s up to Jackson to take this team — his team — and earn that respect.

That’s why he’s getting $80 million.

Van Gundy stood by Jackson on Tuesday. He didn’t have much of a choice. It’s sink or swim with Jackson.

“There is one thing in this job that bothers me,” Van Gundy said. “Losing. That is the only thing that bothers me.

“We are trying to build a foundation of a team that can win for years to come.

“We think Reggie is a huge part of that.”