Amid large-scale offseason change, two familiar Oklahoma City Thunder standouts remain on roster. Plus, a look around the Association.
Nick Collison finalizes deal to retire with Thunder:
When the 2017-18 NBA calendar expires, so too will “Mr. Thunder” Nick Collison’s fourteen-year run as an Oklahoma City/Seattle mainstay.
Selected 12th overall by the Seattle Supersonics in the influential 03’ Draft, Collison signed a recent one-year farewell contract with his lone professional employer.
Though the scrappy 36-year-old competed in just twenty games last season, he proved useful on standby. A veteran of classic blood-and-guts post wars, Collison tactfully lent his 6’10 255-LB frame whenever Oklahoma City required added physicality.
Along a winding 82-game journey, the former Kansas All-American exhibited lingering skill and athleticism during a crucial victory opposite Memphis before unveiling his season-defining performance vs. Philadelphia.
Facing an untested 76’ers post collection, Collison instructed a brief finishing-class of interior play while netting seven points, five rebounds, and two assists as OKC exited in dominant fashion.
Soon-to-be 37, and a veteran of 865 NBA contests, Collison brings poise to the upstart reserve outfit for his rebuilt Oklahoma City Thunder.
And, if again called upon, the elder-statesman remains ever-ready. Collison regarding his role on a team vying for home-court playoff seeding:
“I want to make sure I'm still a player. That's my job now, so I do one thing at a time, and try to enjoy playing and be ready to go when they need me.”
Andre Roberson talks with ESPN.Com after inking three-year $30 M deal:
Re-signed to compliment prolific scorers Russell Westbrook and Paul George, 2017 All-Defensive 2nd Team member Andre Roberson shared these latterly quotes with ESPN.Com:
Roberson on the proposed four-year $48 M offer he declined ahead of last season, which led to a considerable pay cut as market value lowered:
“I just feel like everything happens for a reason, to be honest with you. I don't look back with any regrets, so this (contract situation) is what it is.”
Roberson on negotiations with other franchises during his five-day stint as an unrestricted free-agent:
“Oklahoma City is where I wanted to be, to be honest. So I tried to work a deal with them first before we went to anyone else, and that was that.”
Roberson concerning his emotional and professional connection with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization and fans:
“I treat them (Thunder franchise) as family. They look out for me, I look out for them -- not just the organization but the fans and the community as well. I just wanted to be part of something special, and Oklahoma City is a great place and somewhere I want to continue to build my legacy.”
Roberson then gives his opinion regarding the June 30 Paul George trade, and how proficient Oklahoma City’s defense can become this season:
“I was shocked. I was happy we got George, but I was devastated we lost Vic and Domas... But I do understand the business side of things... and we've just got to keep moving forward.”
I think we can be the best defensive team in the league. “We've got a versatile lineup and can do a lot of things with it.” (Emphasis Mine) Should be a fun season.”
To read the rest of Roberson’s sit-down with ESPN.Com, visit this link
AROUND THE NBA
Following a promising 2017 post-season enjoyed before suffering a fractured thumb, former NBA champion Rajon Rondo recently agreed to terms with the Pelicans.
In joining New Orleans, Rondo, 31, re-unites with close friend, and former teammate, DeMarcus Cousins.
During an erratic eleven-year career, the four-time All Star joins his fifth team in the past four seasons.
If acquired by Houston, Anthony would become the latest notable addition among an NBA arms race to combat the Golden State Warriors.
Anthony’s presence alongside James Harden and Chris Paul could generate some concern among a Western Conference teeming with star power.
The contest, featuring recent #2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, will be televised at 10 PM ET on ESPN