Kevin Durant plans to travel to Oklahoma City for the jersey retirement ceremony of longtime teammate Nick Collison, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The ceremony is set to take place on March 20 when the Thunder take on the Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant and Collison spent eight seasons together on the Thunder (and one on the Sonics) from 2007-’16, reaching the NBA Finals in 2012 and multiple conference Finals in that span. Collison grew close to several teammates in his 14 years with the franchise and remained friends with Durant even after he joined the Warriors.
“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.”
Several of Collison’s former teammates are expected to be in attendance for the ceremony, showing appreciation for the kind of hard-worker and consummate professional Collison was during his career.
Despite the brief return for Durant, neither he nor the Thunder organization have active interest in a basketball reunion, Wojnarowski reports. Durant emphasized that he still holds the Thunder, their fans, and the city in high regard.
There’s more out of the Southwest Division today:
- Jazz guard Dante Exum (ankle) missed his 11th game of the season on Friday and is now ineligible to receive a $200K bonus, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Exum would’ve received the bonus if he played 73 or more games this season with Utah. He also has a separate $200K incentive in his contract that can be earned if he plays 67 games or more on the season.
- Timberwolves veteran Taj Gibson was fined $25,000 for aggressively pursuing and directing an obscene gesture towards a referee, the NBA announced on Friday. Gibson was ejected Thursday after excessively arguing a foul call with official James Williams. “He’s like a big brother,” Gibson said of Williams, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “You see him every day, you have a relationship, sometimes tempers flare and you kind of lose it a little bit, but you know you mean well. I’ll see him again, but it was just part of the job. It was just one of those times I just lost it.”
- Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio has remained focused on helping his team despite Utah’s reported interest in Mike Conley and Otto Porter Jr., Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. “I was in Minnesota traded like 20 times,” Rubio said. “Until it doesn’t happen, you have to really don’t pay attention to that. A lot of them are just rumors and just 5 percent are true, so if it happens it happens, but I’m committed 100 percent to this team, to the community, and nothing’s going to change.” Rubio, 28, is set to become a free agent on July 1.