Thunder get creative with Nick Collison’s contract

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Oh, Sam Presti is being clever again.

We told you yesterday that the Thunder have locked up Nick Collison in a new deal that runs through the summer of 2014. It helps keep their core together and gives them a solid backup big they know they can count on.

But the deal itself, pretty creative, as detailed by Marc Stein at ESPN.

The Thunder had $6.5 million in available cap space this season, so they gave it to Collison as a signing bonus applied to this season. Which means Collison is making a whopping $13.3 million this season when you add in the nearly $6.8 million he was already making.

But next year he makes a much more reasonable $3.3 million and makes less each year of the deal down to $2.2 million at the end of it. Which gives the Thunder a lot more room going forward when they have to pay Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and the other guys who will make the big money.

Clever.