You arrived as a rookie to this team in 2003, you went through the last days in Seattle and the first years in Oklahoma City… How do you see the evolution of the franchise?
Nick Collison: There's been a lot of change. Before Sam (Presti) took over, I'm the only player (left). There's a strength coach and an equipment manager. Everyone else in the whole organization is different, so I've seen a lot of change. Lots of new players. But I think Sam, when he took over, he had a plan, he had patience, and he wanted to build through the draft and then work on developing young players, and it has worked out well for us.
When you moved to Oklahoma City, did you expect this progress?
NC: I understood what we were trying to do. I think we tried to shed salary and start over with young players. It was hard to go through losing seasons, but the moves made sense. I think it was something that had to be done, but it was definitely difficult to go through all those losing years.
What's your role as a veteran in this locker room?
NC: I think it's to be consistent on my play defensively and be able to help the offense run smoothly, like setting screens, cutting hard, those type of things. Trying to be a leader when I can and try to help the other guys if I see something.
Has it changed since another veteran Derek Fisher arrived to the team?
NC: Yeah, he's been great for us. He's really good off the court, as a leader. He's been through a lot. He understands how to comunicate with players, and on the court he's played well for us too. He's giving us a real stable presence playing point guard, and hits big shots. He knows how to play.
You've been with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook since they were rookies. How do you see the relationship between them?
NC: It's great. We have a core group who is being together for four years, and we've been through a lot. We've grown up as a team. That continuity of being able to keep everybody together has really helped us.
Sam Presti will have to make a decision between James Harden and Serge Ibaka, who are set to finish their contracts next season. How do you see this situation?
NC: Who knows what's gonna happen. I don't think anybody know what's going to happen in the future. We have a really fun group of guys right now, we're in the second round of playoffs now, and we're trying to win the championship. That's all I'm worried about now. One thing I've learned in the league is that everything changes all the time, so there's no sense worrying what's going to happen a year or two down the road. We're trying to concentrate on what's going on right now.
You plays at the same position as Serge Ibaka. How's your relationship with him?
NC: He's a good player, a very important part of our team. He's a great teammate to have. He has learned a lot. It's a fun guy to play with.
Have you made any promise in case you win the ring, like growing a beard like James Harden's?
NC: No, I will be a very happy person, but I don't have anything like that.