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Oklahoma City Thunder news: Reggie Jackson playing himself out of OKC?

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When James Harden was with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he played so well that he became an all-star and an Olympic medal winner. However, he also played so well, that the Thunder couldn't afford to keep him when his contract neared an end. According to NewsOK.com on Dec. 18, Reggie Jackson is nearing that same distinction.

In the 2012-13 NBA season, the Thunder lost Russell Westbrook in the postseason and Jackson stepped up. The Thunder still lost and went home, but it gave Jackson some valuable postseason experience. This season, he has really started to shine and has become a perfect compliment to Westbrook, both off the bench and on the court with his teammate.

Now, Reggie Jackson's improvement looks like it could be the key to the Thunder finally winning their first NBA title. But, if that happens, will the Thunder be able to afford the young superstar when his contract expires after next season?

The problems for the Oklahoma City Thunder lies in the fact they are a small market team. They don't have the money of teams like the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat. The Thunder are smart, and owning their arena opens a lot of financial options that other teams don't possess, but they are still small market and have to watch their spending.

Kevin Durant, Russell Werstbrook and Serge Ibaka are locked up to long term deals and get paid most of the Thunder's cap money. Can the Thunder afford what Jackson could pick up on the free agent market for a player who is basically a sixth man? They didn't do it with James Harden.

The Thunder should give Jackson his raise in July, but when 2015 rolls around, the Thunder fans might once again be saying goodbye to a promising young talent thanks to the demands of being a small market team.

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