The next big test for Hinkie (if he lasts that long) will involve Okafor, who according to league sources will strongly consider the tactic that Greg Monroe utilized in Detroit last season: signing a one-year qualifying offer and becoming an unrestricted free agent rather than agreeing to extend his rookie deal. That decision is a few years off, but there’s no evidence that the Sixers actually will be competitive by then. “The culture you’re building, it’s all negative,” a league source said. “… This is a five- or six-year plan with no end in sight.”
Teammate Reggie Jackson lauded Caldwell-Pope’s defensive job on Westbrook, but said it’s become the new normal for the Pistons’ stopper. “Phenomenal. That kid is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league — KCP locks up,” Jackson said. “It’s not a fluke. What KCP does on defense night in and night out is not a fluke. “Everybody overlooks what he does for us. He frustrated me sometimes in pickup (games) in the summer. You find out that it’s real — he loves doing this; he loves defending.”
Former Thunder guard Reggie Jackson didn’t leave Oklahoma City on the best of terms. Kevin Durant wasn’t afraid to say it. “It was tough. I didn’t like some of the stuff he said in the media and how he went about it,” Durant said Friday before the Thunder’s 103-87 win over Jackson’s Detroit Pistons. “… But at the end of the day you’ve got to respect a guy who wants that opportunity and I can appreciate a guy who wants that opportunity.”
When asked if the trade was beneficial for both Jackson and the Thunder, Durant said he never really thought about it that way. “We’ve got a really great team, we’ve got some great guys back. Reggie’s doing well in Detroit,” Durant said. “We had a rough ending last year with Reggie, but I can just think about when he first got here how hard he worked, how great of a teammate he is, and every guy wants an opportunity.”
Jackson, who called Friday night’s tilt against the Thunder “just another game,” was asked if he had any regrets about how his tenure in Oklahoma City ended. “I don’t look back to last year,” Jackson said. When asked if there was regret that the Thunder didn’t get over the top, the one thing Jackson said he does look back on is “four years and I don’t have a ring. “But like I said, I’m focused on the season so I can reflect in the summer,” Jackson said.