Sam Amick
Saturday December 24th, 2011

Oklahoma City is close to completing a buyout of guard Nate Robinson's contract and the seven-year veteran is likely to become a free agent as soon as Saturday morning, a source close to the situation told SI.com.

Robinson is on the books for $4.5 million in the final year of his contract, but he opted to stay in his native Seattle during training camp and the preseason rather than endure a second season on the Thunder bench. Robinson's agent, Aaron Goodwin, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti had been working toward a mutual agreement in recent weeks and it appears a resolution is being finalized.

The 5-foot-9, 27-year-old Robinson will have some value on the free-agent market as a high-energy reserve and streak scorer, though some teams are wary of his maturity and he is eager to convince prospective suitors that he will be as focused and engaged as they would expect. Robinson's roles have diminished since he was traded from New York to Boston midway through the 2009-10 season.

Robinson, who wants to be known as more than the NBA's first and only three-time Slam Dunk Contest champion, had his most productive season with the 32-50 Knicks in 2008-09 when he averaged career highs in points (17.2) and assists (4.1). He had a limited role with the Celtics before getting traded to the Thunder last February in the deal that also sent Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder and brought Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to Boston.

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