Many in Orlando saw Jackson as a player on pace for such big things that he could soon become the Thunder's next dilemma — following the well-publicized decisions that need to be made on James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor.
The thinking is that Jackson simply is too talented to remain a third-string player for much longer. But with Maynor returning from a knee injury that cost him most of last season, Jackson looks locked into another year of learning.
His future, however, might be directly tied to the outcome of whatever deals the Thunder eventually work out with Harden and Ibaka.
With the franchise quickly running out of resources to retain all of its young players, paydays for everyone will not be possible. Harden seems most likely to get rewarded with an extension to his rookie contract, be it this summer or next summer as a restricted free agent. If so, that would mean that it's Ibaka's contract negotiations that could decide Jackson's role going forward.
If the Thunder is somehow able to keep Ibaka in addition to Harden, it won't be likely that Maynor will be in Oklahoma City much longer. Even though Maynor recently hinted at being willing to take less money to remain with the Thunder, the fact is he's one of the best backup point guards in the league and also confessed that he's interested in being a starter someday. Soon, a handful of teams might offer that opportunity.
But if the Thunder decides it is unable to keep Ibaka along with Harden, then OKC figures to have more money to keep Maynor and, thus, keep Jackson waiting in line for a more prominent role.
The decisions that dictate what's in the franchise's best interests are getting more difficult for the Thunder by the day.
And it doesn't help that the choices made today could hold consequences for tomorrow.