The Clippers moved closer to finalizing their roster for training camp Tuesday by signing point guard Reggie Jackson to a one-year contract and waiving backup center Joakim Noah, according to multiple people with knowledge of the moves who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Jackson, 30, is returning to the backup role he began in February after being bought out by Detroit and joining the Clippers.
Jackson averaged 9.5 points in 17 regular-season games and shot 41% on three-pointers, with 3.2 assists against 1.6 turnovers. In the postseason he briefly started in place of the injured Patrick Beverley during a first-round series against Dallas before seeing his role nearly eliminated in the conference semifinal against Denver in part because of his spotty defense.
He averaged 4.9 points in the postseason but was at times the team’s best three-point threat by making 53% of his shots from deep.
With the Clippers’ payroll nearly reaching the NBA’s hard cap of $138.9 million, room was created for Jackson’s salary by waiving Noah before his contract worth $2.6 million became guaranteed Dec. 22. Noah, 35, is expected to retire after 12 NBA seasons. Noah was the NBA’s top defender in 2013-14 and was named to its all-defense team three times, but in recent seasons several injuries had taken their toll. He played in seven games with the Clippers during the league’s restart in Orlando, Fla.
Tuesday’s pair of linked transactions leaves the roster with 14 players, not including two-way players Amir Coffey and Jay Scrubb. The 15th and final spot could be filled by waived Charlotte wing Nic Batum by Wednesday after the 6-foot-9 veteran clears waivers and can sign a deal worth the veteran’s minimum.
If the season-opening roster is close to set, multiple league observers said they do not expect the Clippers to be done tinkering with their roster. Finding a playmaking ballhandler has been a focus for the team.