Los Angeles — In a move the Clippers hope will reinforce an oft-injured roster entering the regular season’s stretch run, the team signed Reggie Jackson shortly after the veteran guard cleared waivers Thursday.
Jackson, 29, joins on a deal that runs through the rest of this season two days after Detroit bought out of the final year of his five-year, $80 million contract.
The Clippers and Lakers were both interested in adding Jackson but on Tuesday, as he was going through the buyout process with the Pistons, Jackson made clear he intended to sign with the former, partially because of his close relationship with forward Paul George. The players share an agent and often spent time together on and off the court during previous offseasons.
The Clippers held mutual interest in Jackson, a first-round selection in the 2011 NBA draft with career averages of 12.9 points and 4.4 assists because adding a pure point guard was a top priority. Though the Clippers have an established backcourt in Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet and Lou Williams, none is considered a primary ball-handler. Jackson’s signing fills that need while adding depth. Beverley, a starter, has missed seven of the team’s last 11 games because of a groin injury.
Jackson is no stranger to injuries, either. After playing the first two games this season, he missed the next 42 because of a stress reaction in his lower back.
Jackson is scheduled to practice with the Clippers on Friday ahead of the team’s first game following the All-Star break, which is Saturday at Staples Center against Sacramento.
Jackson was traded to Detroit in 2015 and re-signed on his five-year contract later that season. Averaging 18.8 points and 6.2 assists in 2016, Jackson helped lead the team to a first-round playoff appearance.
The Pistons never built off that progress, however, and injuries led Jackson to play only 52 games in 2016-17 and 45 the following season. Since returning from a back injury Jan. 22, Jackson has averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds on a 49% true-shooting percentage, which accounts for both 2- and 3-pointers.