Thunder Make Two More Contracts Official
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The Thunder roster keeps expanding with now 15 players officially under contract (the most they can have when the regular season starts) 14 of those deals are guaranteed.
Semaj Christon, who spent much of last season as Russell Westbrook's backup, is the one player who's contract isn't guaranteed. The deadline for the Thunder to make a decision on Christon has been pushed back a couple of times, now all the way into training camp.
OKC still doesn't have a deal done with 1st round draft pick Terrance Ferguson. The main hangup appears to be getting his clearance from FIBA. He played last season in Australia. There is also believed to be some back and forth going on between the Thunder and Ferguson's agent over money.
Though draft picks are slotted for a certain amount, final contracts can be for as little as 80 percent of the slotted amount or as much as 120 percent.
The two latest deals to become official are for veteran forward Nick Collison and rookie center Dakari Johnson.
Collison will begin his 16th season in the NBA this fall, all with the Thunder organization going all the way back to the old Seattle SuperSonics days.
Johnson was a 2nd round draft pick a couple of years ago and he's played the last two seasons for the OKC Blue.
Here is part of what the Thunder released about the Collison signing...
“We are excited that Nick is returning for his 10th season with the Thunder and know he will bring tremendous depth to our team given his ability to play both frontcourt positions with grit, skill and intelligence,” said Thunder GM Sam Presti. “As one of the founding members of our organization and culture, it goes without saying that he has helped set internal standards and built a legacy that Thunder fans will remain indebted to for years to come. The day to recognize these contributions will come in the future, today we know we are a better team because of what Nick consistently brings to the floor and his teammates every single day.”
In 14 NBA seasons, Collison has appeared in 895 career games (177 starts) and averaged 6.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 20.7 minutes. Collison is one of five active players to spend 14 or more seasons with one franchise.
An integral part of the Oklahoma City’s success, Collision has helped lead the Thunder to the second-best record in the NBA dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season (.653; 418-222).
Originally selected 12th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Iowa Falls native led Kansas to back-to-back Final Four appearances and at the conclusion of his collegiate career, Collison stood as the all-time leading scorer in Big-12 history.
And here is what the Thunder released about Johnson's signing...
During the 2016-17 G League season, Johnson played in 49 games (all starts), leading the Oklahoma City Blue to its first Southwest Division title, as he averaged a team-leading 18.5 points per game (13th in the league) and 7.9 rebounds in 29.0 minutes. He set career highs in points, assists (2.3), blocks (1.27) and field goal percentage (.557) in the regular season.
“Dakari is the latest Thunder player to have benefitted from his commitment to his development plan with the Blue,” said Presti. “As a result, he showed tremendous growth on both ends of the floor over the past two seasons and is ready to embark on his NBA career more prepared. Dakari adds to the core of young talent on our roster that we feel is an important tenet to our ability to sustain our success as we enter into a decade of Thunder basketball.”
The center was named Performer of the Week twice and was named the Player of the Month for November this past season. Johnson became the first player in franchise history to be named to the All-NBA G League First Team and was selected to the G League All Star Game.
Johnson’s assists ranked first among all centers in the G League last season and he contributed a career-high 13 double-doubles while scoring in double figures 45 times.
Originally selected No. 48 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, the University of Kentucky standout spent two full seasons with the Blue, appearing in 99 games (96 starts), and tallying 15.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.21 blocks in 28.3 minutes.
Collison's deal is for one year but the veteran forward say's he's not sure if it will be his last, preferring to see how things go this season and how he feels going into 2018-19.
Johnson's contract is for two years and both are fully guaranteed, most likely at the rookie minimum, a bit more than $800,000.
Though Johnson's contract is with the Thunder he will still see a lot of action with the Blue but he'll now be able to spend quality practice time with the Thunder going up against Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Patrick Patterson and Collison on a regular basis.