Longtime Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison will return for his 15th NBA season. Shams Charania of The Vertical reported Collison agreed to a one-year contract with the team on Friday to end his lengthy career in Oklahoma City.
Collison never developed into more than a role player in the NBA, but he's been a stalwart member of the Thunder rotation for over a decade. The franchise selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft when they were still the Seattle SuperSonics.
His long stay earned him the moniker "Mr. Thunder." It's a fitting ode to how he provided stability throughout numerous changes over the years, ranging from the move to Oklahoma City to Kevin Durant's departure last summer, which sparked a flood of emotion within the fanbase.
The 36-year-old Iowa native has never averaged a double-figure scoring total, and his playing time has steadily decreased in recent years. He checked in at 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while playing the fewest minutes of his career (6.4) during the 2016-17 campaign.
Last May, Collison explained to Jared Zwerling of NBPA.com how much it meant to stay with one organization for so long given the current sports climate:
"I've been fortunate. It's been a place I've wanted to be and they've wanted to have me around. I feel like contractually it's always worked out where we can come to a fair deal, and I've liked how I've been treated. I never felt the need to go anywhere else and the way our team has grown, it's been really fun to be a part of—to be with these guys for a long time when they were younger coming up and having success. And I know that's really rare in the NBA, to be able to have that continuity and those teammates year after year, especially in today's NBA with so much movement."
A team that only receives secondary contributions from a lottery pick would normally be disappointed with its investment. But considering how long Collison made a consistent impact while also providing intangibles like leadership, OKC got plenty of bang for its buck.
Although Collison's place within the Thunder rotation figures to remain minimal next season, he'll continue to make his presence felt in other ways. That's why the Oklahoma City front office kept him in the fold despite the limited production.
Given the team's offseason move to add Paul George, Collison has a shot to make a run with a contender as he closes out his career.
Whenever he does decide to call it a career, he'll have locked down a place in the fabric of the franchise.