Remember way back when Nick Collison committed the high crime of saying nice things about Seattle? Remember the campaign to run him out of town for the treasonous offense of complaining about Oklahoma’s weather?
That may seem like an eternity ago, but it wasn’t. Collison’s Twitter post controversy was before last season. And the weak-minded standardbearers for the state’s inferiority complex bought into some sports-talk ranting and branded Collison as a bad attitude who should be dumped.
Where are all those folks today?
Really, it’s hard to imagine Oklahoma City’s NBA team without Collison, and now you won’t have to. The Thunder announced Tuesday that it signed Collison to a multi-year contract extension. The move keeps the 6-9 power forward from hitting the free-agent market this offseason, which is a great thing for Collison and the Thunder.
He’s probably more valuable to Oklahoma City than he is to most other teams. But don’t think for a minute that the Spurs wouldn’t pounce on Collison.
John Rohde, who is reporting that Collison’s new deal is for four years, will be writing more for Wednesday’s editions about why and how GM Sam Presti got it done and what the extension says about his value to OKC. The timing, however, is interesting because the first few weeks of the season have reminded us of two very important things about Nick Collison:
1) The Thunder needs him to keep opponents from conducting layup drills in the middle of games. Oklahoma City is 5-0 since he returned to the lineup in earnest from a knee injury — I’m not counting his first game back, an 11-minute trial run in a loss to San Antonio. During that winning streak the Thunder is yielding 95.8 points a game. With Collison out, opponents averaged 105.7 points in nine games.
2) Sam Presti LOVES him. Check out Presti’s quotes from the Thunder’s purposefully worded press release on Collison’s extension. I realize that everything Presti does is purposeful, but sometimes there is need for a little interpretation, so I’ve included mine.
Presti: Collison has shown “an unwavering commitment to our organization.” Message: Time to forget about the Seattle tweets.
Presti: “He brings a smart, physical, and hard working approach to our defense.” Message: Have you seen the last five games?
Presti: Collison “is one of our most active players in the community.” Message: So what if he complains about Oklahoma summers. Don’t we all?