Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant is planning to travel to Oklahoma City for a March ceremony to retire the jersey of longtime Thunder teammate Nick Collison, Durant told ESPN. “That group was so special, that whole group from 2010 until I left there, it was special,” Durant told ESPN. “It’s about time for us to let go of all that extra stuff, and just come together — especially around this time, because it’s Nick.”
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The Thunder are aware of Durant’s plans to attend the ceremony and are glad to accommodate him, sources said. Scores of ex-Sonics and Thunder teammates from Collison’s 15-year career are expected to be in Oklahoma City for the event. Durant has long credited Collison’s leadership in easing his transition into the NBA when Durant arrived as the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft. He spent a season with Collison in Seattle before the franchise relocated, and eight more together in OKC.
For those thinking that this could be Durant’s way of starting a pathway back to the Thunder in free agency this summer, think again: There’s no interest on either side for a basketball reconciliation. Both Durant and the Thunder have moved on, with OKC reshaping a new contender around Russell Westbrook and Paul George. For Durant and the Thunder, it appears to be a one-time return engagement that centers around something they both agree on: A fondness and appreciation for Nick Collison’s career with the franchise.
Royce Young: Gregg Popovich on the Thunder retiring Nick Collison’s number: “I’m glad they’re retiring his jersey. Pretty classy.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today that the team will retire Nick Collison’s No. 4 on Wednesday, March 20 when the Thunder hosts the Toronto Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Collison announced his retirement this past May after spending all 15 years of his career with the Thunder franchise. His No. 4 will be the first number retired by the Thunder.
“I am thrilled that Nick Collison will be the first Thunder player to have their number retired in Oklahoma City,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “He has cemented himself as part of the fabric of this community and our organization by setting an example of commitment, hard work and authenticity. Congratulations Nick.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder, in partnership with the 2018 deadCenter Film Festival, will premiere a documentary on retiring forward Nick Collison at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9, during an outdoor screening on the Great Lawn at the Myriad Gardens. The screening will be free and open to the public. Viewers are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets, according to a news release.
In the film, Collison refers to himself and his style of play as “the basketball version of a janitor.” “You gotta dive on the floor, you do it. You gotta set a screen, you do it. Take a hard foul, you do it. That’s what you’re supposed to do and I think that’s just how I play,” he says in the film. The screening of “Mr. Thunder” will be followed by a new documentary, “If I Leave Here Tomorrow,” about the iconic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, which has Oklahoma ties.
Kendrick Perkins: I wanted to take time to give a special shoutout to 1 of my top 5 favorite team mates of my NBA career and that’s @nicholascollison You are a real 1 on and off the court, a true professional and the definition of a true team mate. Speaks volumes that 1 organization @okcthunder Thunder kept you throughout your long great career. Wish you the best my brother in your next Chapter in life. Love My Boy. Brothers for life👊🏾💯
Doug McDermott: Congrats Dirty!
Jamal Crawford: Heck of a run @Nick Collison ! Sure even more success in the next chapter. Respect!
Nick Collison: I started in cold gyms in small towns in Iowa and ended up playing in more than 1,000 games over 15 years in the best league in the world. I’ve had an incredible run. I’m proud of my career. But it’s time to go. I’m retiring from competitive basketball.
Nick Collison: I love KD. I miss him. I played my best basketball with James. I wish we would have had more time. I feel like a proud big brother watching Russ become both the player and the man that he is. I really appreciate all the battles we’ve been through.
Brett Dawson: Nick Collison says “I think I’ve decided” about his future, but “Today’s not the time to make any of those decisions final.”
Erik Horne: Russell Westbrook on the mic in pregame calls Nick Collison to midcourt for a massive applause from the fans. “I’m not sure if this is his last season or not, but he’s someone I’ve always looked up to as a brother.” Makes sure to acknowledge what Collison has done for org.
Brett Dawson: Collison: “It’s probably my last year.”
Longtime Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Nick Collison says he’s not yet ready to announce he’s done playing. “I don’t know. It’s hard to say for sure,” Collison told The Transcript when asked if 2017-18 would be his final NBA season. “You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s very possible. I realize I’m getting up there.”
Nick Collison isn’t done playing. At least, that’s what he says. “I plan to play [next year] for sure,” Collison said. “I wasn’t sure going into the season how I would feel at the end of the year, but I still enjoy playing, and I enjoy being around the group. I enjoy being on the team, and I still think I have something to offer.”
Anthony Slater: Nick Collison said he will be back next season.
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May 18, 2019 | 9:05 pm EDT Update
For now it is all speculation, but there were anonymous whispers asking if it was true that the Knicks and Durant had already held a secret meeting, that a handshake deal was already in place and that endorsement deals were already ironed out. It wasn’t just talk about the Knicks securing the services of Durant, but that the elite scorer is bolting the Warriors despite all of the success. No one would put a name on their thoughts, but they did at least in their minds, figure out the hardest part of the Durant free agency question: why would he leave the Warriors?