But the largest roadblock in keeping Jackson may actually become his on-court role
Take a look at what Jackson said after Tuesday's shootaround in Denver, when asked whether he viewed himself as a starter in this league.
“Why not?” Jackson quickly retorted. “I looked at (Michael) Jordan growing up, idolized the greats. I think that's how you're remembered. I mean, it's a fun role (off the bench), playing and competing. But every day I woke up at 5 in the morning in high school, getting shots up and I never said I wanted to be a bench player. I always woke up to be the greatest.”
Jackson reiterated that he's satisfied with his current role — currently one of the leading candidates for Sixth Man of the Year. But unlike most of his competitors for that distinction, Jackson is in the early stages of his career, with the 23-year-old's best days ahead of him.
And it clearly sounds like, in his mind, that includes a feature role as a starter.
“To be the best I think you eventually have to get to a starting role and you have to do it consistently,” Jackson continued. “Thirty-plus minutes night in and night out and get championships. So that's the thing that motivates me each and every day and what I strive for.”
Can that come in OKC? Could it come alongside the Thunder's established superstars?
“I don't think that's for me to decide,” Jackson said. “Management always does that. I just come out and compete and try to get better each and every day and figure out things from there.”