Nick Collison has signed a four-year contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder that will keep him with the franchise’s longest-tenured player with the organization through the 2014-15 season.
Collison on Tuesday talked about why he chose to stay in Oklahoma City and where he sees the Thunder headed.
Q: Somebody likes you. That’s got to be a good feeling?
A: Yep. For sure. I’m really excited to get a deal done. The biggest reason is I’m happy to be here. We got a good thing going on. I want to be a part of it. The organization has been great to me over a long period of time now. It was just a good fit for everybody involved.
Q: Did you see it coming?
A: I think players would always like to get a little bit of security and kind of knowledge of the future and what’s going to happen. Sam (Presti) came to me with an opportunity to maybe get something done. We worked on it and got to a deal we thought was good for both parties. I think we’re both happy with it. I’m just real excited. The organization has taken a lot of steps in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it for the next steps that we hopefully take in the next few years.
Q: Was there a moment in the last few years were you thought this is the place you wanted to be?
A: Like I said, people have been great to me. I’ve got a lot of friends in the organization. I’ve been here since I started my career. We do everything in a first-class way. The players obviously are No. 1. We’ve got a really good group of guys that kind of came together last year. And that’s what I want to be a part of. But the entire staff, our medical staff is really top notch, Donnie Strack and Joe Sharpe. And that’s big for me being older and coming into the last few years of my career. Those guys like Dwight Daub, the strength coach, and Marc St. Ives, who I’ve been with since Day One, are guys that really do a great job and are guys that I’ve become friends with. So it’s a place I’ve been comfortable for a long time. And basketball-wise, we’ve got a good future. And I have a role here. I think they appreciate what I do. I just didn’t see a reason to try to go anywhere else. For me to get a four-year deal, that’s something that’s good for me personally and I’m just excited to get it done.
Q: You didn’t seem worried about your contract year, but now that you have it is it a weight off your shoulders?
A: A little bit. I wasn’t too stressed out about it. This is the eighth year I’ve been in the league. I’ve played seven. I know the way the business is. I was hopefully going to play well and have an opportunity to continue playing, so I wasn’t too concerned about it. I know now, big picture, that it’s not worth worrying about those types of contract things until they come up. And it just came up earlier than the summer. When Sam came to me about possibly getting something done, I was definitely open to talking about it and we got to a point where both sides felt comfortable. So it’s not a huge relief. It’s not something I was stressed about. But to get that knowledge of where you’re going to be is always big for players. It’s nice to focus on the basketball part of and not have to worry about the business part for a while.
Q: It’s pretty rare that a guy coming off an injury gets offered an extension. Do you feel that proves your worth to this team even more?
A: Yeah, I think so. I don’t think my injury was too much of a concern long term. I think it was kind of a big-picture view on both me and the organization’s part. I wish I could have been healthy coming into camp so I could be a little bit better off than I am now on the court. But I think this is a big-picture move for both sides.
Q: You started your career with two shoulder surgeries and in the end you will have played 10, maybe 11 years.
A: Yeah, coming into the league I never knew what to expect. But if you would have told me I’d get at least 12 in, I’d be happy with that. That’s a big part of this, too. It’s going to give me a lot of time in the league, and it’s all with, hopefully, one organization. It’s been a good run so far.