"He got what he wanted. You can't really --," Durant said, before pausing to think for a moment. "He got what he wanted."
The Thunder traded Jackson on Thursday to the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal that including center Kendrick Perkins going to the Utah Jazz with Enes Kanter, DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler and Steve Novak headed back to Oklahoma City.
"Made some great moves," Durant said. "It's tough, losing Perk. And other guys."
Jackson, a restricted free agent in the offseason, has repeatedly expressed desire for a starting role, with his situation coming to a head on Wednesday with his agent reportedly requesting a trade from the Thunder.
"You have to have guys that want to be here," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "You have to have guys that are committed. Reggie is obviously a very good player, and he did a lot of good things for us over the years. But he wanted to start. He wanted to be a starting point guard. I don't know if you know this ... but [Russell Westbrook] is pretty good. So it just didn't happen if he wanted to start at the point. But Reggie was good for us, and I have nothing but a lot of good things to say. He's still a young and developing player and we wish him the best."
Following the trade, Jackson tweeted he was "crying tears of joy." Asked his feelings about that, Westbrook said: "You can't force anybody to be here that doesn't want to be here. Reggie did a great job for us while he was here and he made the best decision for him."
It was a hectic day for the Thunder, with them only having 10 active players Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks. Behind 34 points and 10 assists from Westbrook and 21 points and 22 rebounds from Serge Ibaka, the Thunder cruised to a 104-89 win, officially climbing into the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Asked if the day was challenging to get through with all the moving parts, Durant was unfazed.
"It was pretty easy," Durant said. "We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy. So it wasn't like everybody was going crazy at shootaround. I went to sleep and woke up and we had new players. It goes like that sometimes. Everybody that wants to be here is here, we're excited about our new guys, and it hurts to see [ Perkins] leave, but we're still going to remain brothers until we're both gone. It was definitely a tough day, but a good day as well. "
Perkins spent the last four-plus seasons with the Thunder after being acquired at the 2011 trade deadline from the Celtics in a deal that sent Jeff Green to Boston. He started 225 games for the Thunder (appeared in 273) and became a fixture in their locker room as a vocal veteran leader.
"I talked to him as soon as it went down," Durant said. "Obviously it was emotional for us, because we're so attached to Perk, and he brought such a different swagger to our team. It's tough to see him go, but everybody understands, he understood the nature of the beast, and we understand, so it was tough losing him."
Perkins often was a lightning rod for criticism, with a lot of speculation centering around him each summer in relation to the amnesty provision. But the Thunder experienced their leap from up-and-comers to title contender following the addition of Perkins, winning some 74 percent of their games when he was in the starting lineup.
Obviously, that also coincided with the maturation and development of Westbrook and Durant, but the Thunder regard Perkins as one of the stakeholders in helping build the team to what it currently is.
"Obviously, Perk is somebody that had a significant impact on the trajectory of our organization, and I think he'll be beloved in Oklahoma City for a very, very long time," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "We're really grateful that he came through this program, and we wish him nothing but the best."
Presti was far more brief in discussing Jackson, a player he selected 24th overall in 2011.
"Reggie, obviously had some great moments for us," Presti said. "We wish him well."
The Thunder added Kanter, an offensively talented big man taken No. 3 overall in 2011. Augustin will replace Jackson as Westbrook's backup. Singler is a 40-percent 3-point shooter and can provide depth behind Durant. Novak is a journeyman sharpshooter. Their second unit is deeper and has been upgraded, particularly offensively.
"They brought in some great players," Durant said. "Kanter is a 22-year-old center, young piece that can really play. DJ is my brother, I played with him at Texas. Novak and Kyle Singler, so I love the pickup of those guys. And me as a leader, I've got to make them feel comfortable the second they walk through the door."
The Thunder's new acquisitions will undergo physicals on Friday and are expected to join the team in Charlotte on Saturday.