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Nick Collison signs reported 2-year, $8 million extension with Oklahoma City Thunder (Update3)

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Nick Collison reportedly signs a 2 year extension that will likely keep him with the Thunder for the remainder of his career.

"If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love."
"If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love."
W. Bennett Berry

Nick Collison will likely finish his career as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Anthony Slate of The Oklahoman reported a statement released by Sam Presti today:

Marc Spears of Yahoo! reports that the deal is for 2 years and around $8 million:

Update: Nick Collison issued the following statement:

"I'm excited to continue my career with the Thunder, playing here in Oklahoma City. I feel fortunate to be a part of a great organization and to play with a great group of teammates," said Collison. "Playing in Oklahoma City is unique, it's a rare combination of a lot of things; great people in the organization starting with ownership, the most loyal fans, the opportunity to win at a high level and a true community impact. It's been a great professional experience for me since the day I arrived. I'm proud of what we have built together and am grateful to be able to stay with the club and continue our work together."

Nick Collison is the rare NBA athlete who will likely play his entire career with one franchise, and also has the distinction of still playing in two distinct cities. Collison was drafted in 2004 by the Seattle Supersonics, was one of Kevin Durant's first teammates, and over the course of his career has transformed himself from a primary offensive threat to a supplementary scorer to a key contributor for the Thunder bench.

Collison is now averaging a career-low 16 minutes a game, but perhaps his veteran leadership is needed more than ever as OKC fights to regain its footing in the midst of a tough playoff hunt. As the Thunder has struggled with numerous injuries and uncertainty, Collison may yet have a prominent role to play.

Looking to the future, it is not difficult to see that the Thunder one day will potentially give Collison a permanent seat on the bench when his playing days are done. A coaching career following a playing career seems a natural fit, and hopefully one that will keep Collison with the Thunder for many more years to come.

Update 2: Is this a fair deal?

The immediate question that has arisen in light of Collison's extension is, is Collison getting overpaid? Underpaid? Somewhere in the middle? It is murky territory until the Thunder decide to release the particulars of the deal, but we can speculate on a few things. Naturally I turned to resident smart guy Jon Hamm and asked him if he had crunched Collison's numbers:

Back in October Mark Deeks wrote a long piece about how the Thunder could extend Collison again. Mark came up with a max of $18 million over 3 years. I came up with $16.849M over three years. So, somewhere in that area.

And of course, had his contract expired and he hit free agency, he could have signed for anything up to the max.

How do we get there? In part because the Thunder had the foresight many years ago to set up Nick's current contract so that it was front-loaded, thereby helping the Thunder both burn off cap space as well as open up more to re-sign Kevin Durant.  This next one may look a little unusual as well, per Mark Deeks:

One possible problem to retaining him, however, is due to the size of his current contract. Because of all the aforementioned work that saw him sign such a small extension, Collison's salary in the final season of his contract is a mere $2,242,003. And per the CBA rules, an extension for that contract can start at only 107.5% of that amount, or $2,410,153.

This amount might still be enough, of course, considering Collison's declining abilities, advancing age, and the combination of Mitch McGary and Steven Adams primed to take over his role. But a hitherto unappreciated CBA provision could in fact allow the Thunder to pay a little more.

The clause in question is for players who have been with their current team for more than 10 seasons, and who meet the aforementioned criteria for extension eligibility (namely, their prior contract is at least of four seasons in length, and more than three years have passed since they signed it). If a player meets all these criteria, and they have a salary that is lower in the final season of their previous contract than the penultimate one, then teams are permitted to offer them more in the first year of an extension than the standard 107.5% of the final season's salary. Specifically, they can offer a contract that starts at 107.5% of the average salary of every year of the previous contract, including, if applicable, the year in which it was extended. In Collison's case, this means they can sign him to a contract starting at 107.5% of the average of everything he earned since 2010/11, including that amount. As we saw above, in those five years, Collison earned $24.3 million, and one fifth of that ($4.86 million) is the amount from which an extension can be calculated.

I asked Hamm if he thinks Collison is basically taking a paycut, since he could arguably sign for more. Jon replied:

He's taking a theoretical paycut, but in reality, the franchise is rewarding him and doing him a solid. Seems very unlikely that Collison could have commanded this from any other team on the market. In fact, I had thought that if OKC brought him back it would be for much less. More than the veteran minimum, maybe $2M per season or so. But this was more than a "paying for talent" transaction, in my opinion. It was a show of loyalty for KD and Russ to see.

I haven't seen exactly how the $7.5M is busted up over the two seasons yet, but I kind of think it's a flat $3.75M per. His deal could only go up or down 7.5%, and that's a pretty small amount (less than $300,000). We'll see if the front office got creative with this or not.

Update 3:

Per our friend Endless Paradise below, at least one person is not so impressed with Collison staying with the Thunder:

You know that one isn't going to go unchecked. Enter Salty KD:

Next, enter Bill Champion. Flawless victory, indeed.