Thunder sign Nick Collison to two-year, nearly $8 million contract extension


Update: Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Marc Stein of ESPN:


The Thunder auctioned off Nick Collison’s blood-stained shoes, which should tell you everything about his fit in Oklahoma City.

Collison has been with the franchise since it moved from Seattle, and though he’s declining at age 34, he’s still a respected member of the team and can fill the role asked. He’s averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game this season – enough to draw a contract extension.

Thunder release:

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed forward Nick Collison to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are excited that Nick Collison will continue his tenure with the Thunder. Since our arrival in 2008, Nick has helped us establish the standards on and off the floor that we work by on a day-to-day basis,” said Presti. “He has accepted various roles, demonstrated professionalism in all aspects of his craft, and shown a commitment to an organizational philosophy that is rare in sports today. Nick is the type of player that will always be valued in Oklahoma City, and we are thrilled he will continue to be a foundational member of the Thunder moving forward.”

The Thunder extended Collison’s contract in 2010, giving him a large signing bonus then reaping the cap savings in future seasons, when it was needed more. Oklahoma City could give that signing bonus only because it was under the cap in 2010. That’s no longer the case, so the Thunder can’t be quite as clever this time.

However, they can still be a little clever.

Collison, who’s making $2,242,003 this season, can get up to $5,224,500 in the first year of the extension, which kicks in next season and can last up to three years. Collison isn’t worth that much, but Oklahoma City could even pay him closer to the max possible next season and then decrease his salary up to 7.5 percent in future seasons.

The Thunder must weigh whether paying Collison more next season would put them into (or deeper into) the luxury tax vs. the desire to maximize cap space in 2016 (when Kevin Durant hits free agency) and, if this extension is long enough, 2017 (when Russell Westbrook hits free agency).

This is the third contract extension of Collison’s career, and it increases the odds he’ll never sign as a free agent. But he and the Thunder clearly fit well. Why break up a good thing?

Report: Nets discussing Brook Lopez trade with Thunder directly


The Nets are reportedly motivated to trade Brook Lopez.

That’s why their three-way trade with the Thunder and Hornets fizzling didn’t mean Lopez would stay in Brooklyn long.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Kendrick Perkins’ expiring contract would surely be necessarily to facilitate the deal, but it would still be difficult for Oklahoma City to aggregate enough salary to acquire Lopez while keeping the deal a straight dump for Brooklyn. The Thunder have such a deep roster, they’d almost have to include a player of value in the deal. They just don’t have enough dead weight around.

The lowest-impact deal I could find is Perkins, Nick Collison and Grant Jerrett for Lopez.

If Oklahoma City was willing to surrender Jeremy Lamb in the three-way trade, Brooklyn can probably get him now. Dion Waiters makes Lamb more expendable, and Lopez – despite his high salary and injury issues – is probably too good to just give away.

When healthy, Lopez is an impressive interior option. He’s averaging 14.6 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds per game this season, but he was an All-Star in 2013 and played even better before getting hurt last season.

His $15,719,062 salary would push the the Thunder further into the luxury tax, but clearing it – and his $16,744,218 player option for next season – would give the Nets immediate savings and future flexibility. That could mean quite a bit if the franchise is for sale.

Thunder’s Steven Adams, Nick Collison share impressive pregame handshake (VIDEO)


There are plenty of NBA players who engage in elaborate handshake rituals before their games begin, and it even got to the point where the league put a rule in place to limit just how long these things could go on.

But as the Thunder’s Steven Adams and Nick Collison recently proved, sometimes, less is more.

Kendrick Perkins, after mounting criticism, establishing new niche with Thunder


BOSTON – The terms of the Kendrick Perkins conundrum were never complicated.

He’s a well-respected leader whose on-court production increasingly failed to justify the starting role the Thunder gave him.

ESPN called him the NBA’s Least Valuable Player. Kevin Durant called him “one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

Both assessments were accurate.

How Oklahoma City should reconcile the two side of Perkins was always the more complicated question.

Would reducing his playing time diminish his standing in the locker room? Would he continue to lead as a reserve? Could he?

Now, Perkins is making it easy on the Thunder.

Coming off the bench for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City, Perkins is averaging 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 52.8 percent in 19.8 minutes per game. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but they – combined with his intangibles – make keeping him the rotation completely justifiable.

Perkins has reversed a four-year downturn in PER, dating back to his final full season with the Celtics:


After starting his first 289 games with the Thunder, including the playoffs, Perkins performed well off the bench his first few games of the season. He grabbed eight and six rebounds his first two games, and then he had 17 points and five rebounds in a win over the Nuggets.

But a cold spell hit, and Perkins shot 1-for-9 in three straight losses.

“A couple of games, mentally I wasn’t into it,” Perkins said. “I wasn’t bringing the right mindset and my heart wasn’t in it. The last few games my heart’s been in it.”

What changed?

“Sometimes, you’ve just got to get a reality check,” Perkins said. “Sometimes, people that you love just got to put you in place and talk to you. And that’s all you need at times, just that one person to talk to you.”

Perkins has no shortage of people he can rely on when he faces a challenge – naming specifically his wife and former Celtics teammates Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett.

“KG is the one who will tell me the truth all the time,” Perkins said. “He’s going to tell me the truth whether I want to hear it or not.”

But none of those three had the first-hand experience to help Perkins with this latest slump while adjusting to coming off the bench.

Enter teammate Nick Collison, a backup most of his career.

“He was just telling me about the role I’m in coming off the bench,” Perkins said. “You just got to know that you got to come in and almost want to play perfect with a lot of energy. I didn’t really know you can’t ease into that.

“You just got to be a spark plug off the bench some kind of way.”

Though he said he’s not making any concerted effort to score more in the absence of Durant, Russell Westbrook and multiple other key players, Perkins has at least six points in three straight games – a feat he achieved only once all of last season.

So far, he’s delivering exactly what this team needs, and any worries about how sending him to the bench would affect Oklahoma City’s chemistry are being put to rest.

Not only is up-and-coming Steven Adams holding his own after becoming starting center, Perkins’ voice still carries weight. Even after a brief tiff with Reggie Jackson – who’s also trying to find his way in a changing environment – the guard spoke highly of Perkins.

“He’s just so embracing, so loving,” Jackson said. “He wants the best for everybody.

“He’ll run through a wall for you. If he feels you’re genuine, you’re a great teammate, there’s no ends Perk that will go to make sure, to make you feel wanted.”

Perkins, after the Thunder didn’t amnesty him this summer, must feel wanted, too. He’s even hearing MVP chants in his head.

These good feelings might not last. When rookie Mitch McGary returns from injury, he could usurp Perkins’ role. Even the returns of Durant and Perry Jones could eat into Perkins’ playing, because Collison has opened big-man minutes by playing out of position at small forward. There’s also a chance Perkins’ revival is a flash in the pan, unsustainable in a larger sample.

But, right now, Perkins is quietly succeeding on the court and loudly leading off it – a perfect recipe for Oklahoma City

Thunder players with helium voices in local ad (VIDEO)


Local ads with NBA players are the best.

And this one out of Oklahoma City is a new favorite of mine — Thunder players like Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka talking with helium voices in a spot for Edmund Hyundai.

Kendrick Perkins is the best.