Thunder's Andre Roberson talks new contract, tipping etiquette

Andre Roberson says he thinks the Thunder can be the best defensive team in the NBA. Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder officially announced the signing of Andre Roberson on Friday to a three-year deal for $30 million. Roberson, 25, was named to the all-defensive second team this season and has grown into his role as one of the true elite wing defenders in the league.

Shortly after signing his contract, Roberson sat down with ESPN.com to talk about why the Thunder are the right fit, the stunning Paul George trade and, of course, the art of tipping.

So you're signed now, after turning down an extension offer last fall. What was it about this deal with the Thunder that was the right one at the right time?

Roberson: I just feel like everything happens for a reason, to be honest with you. I don't look back with any regrets, so this is what it is.

Were you talking to other teams or did you basically just work with the Thunder directly on this before shopping around?

Roberson: Oklahoma City is where I wanted to be, to be honest. So I tried to work a deal with them first before we went to anyone else, and that was that.

The Thunder drafted you 26th overall, ready to convert you from a power forward in college at Colorado to an NBA shooting guard. And they've always been really invested in your development as a player. What kind of connection with them do you feel?

Roberson: For sure, but not just that, but everybody else in the building. I treat them as family. They look out for me, I look out for them -- not just the organization but the fans and the community as well. I just wanted to be part of something special, and Oklahoma City is a great place and somewhere I want to continue to build my legacy.

Russell Westbrook made sure to congratulate you on Instagram on the new deal. Did you hear from all your other teammates, too?

Roberson: Steve [Adams] texted me, Enes [Kanter], all the guys. It was cool. Unfortunately, we didn't have our boys, Victor [Oladipo] and Domas [Sabonis], but you know ...

Well, speaking of that, what do you think about this Paul George trade?

Roberson: I was shocked. I was happy we got Paul George, but I was devastated we lost Vic and Domas, two good guys, two guys I was close with. But I do understand the business side of things, and I think we all understand it, and we've just got to keep moving forward.

What kind of a defensive team can you be?

Roberson: To be honest, I think we can be the best defensive team in the league. That was our goal last year, and that's going to continue to be our goal. We've got a versatile lineup and can do a lot of things with it. Should be a fun season.

You've spent a lot of time guarding George, so you know what he brings. What's he going to add to what you already have with Russell?

Roberson: It's going to be great. He can do a lot of things. Pick-and-roll, spot-up, push in transition, drive to the rim, dish -- he can do it all. And he can play defense. So it's a good pickup for us.

There's a lot of feeling around the league that you guys are probably the best equipped team to guard the Warriors right now, with all your length and athleticism and versatility. Do you see it that way?

Roberson: We'll see. We haven't proved anything yet. They're still the defending champs, and we just have to see. Gotta get through training camp first and all that fun stuff.

What's your feeling about this team after the summer additions?

Roberson: The sky's the limit. Last year was a little different, obviously losing a lot of our guys we had before. It was tough to rebuild, but I think [GM] Sam [Presti] did a great job finding the right pieces to put us right back in position. Right back in the hunt, just like a couple other teams. This offseason was pretty crazy, but I think Sam did a great of picking up pieces for us to succeed and put us back at the top where we belong.

So, last year, you attempted 184 3-pointers, which was almost as many as your first three seasons in the league combined. Your shooting is a topic of conversation among a lot of people, but with adding George, do you see your attempts going down or your role offensively changing at all?

Roberson: I don't know, we'll see. Billy [Donovan] is a great coach. He puts people in great positions to succeed. We'll have to see when the season comes. Last year I took a lot more 3-pointers, but at the same time you can't get better not shooting them. So I had to let it fly and gain experience and try to get better from 3, no matter what the percentage looked like. So, just gotta keep going.

The free throw line was a problem for you last season, especially in the playoffs against the Rockets where they intentionally fouled you. I watch you practice them all the time, but that's what people say -- "Just practice them!" What are you doing this summer to work on that?

Roberson: That's the outside looking in. I do practice them. I don't think it's anything to do with my mechanics. It's more to do with my confidence and fatigue, stuff like that. Wrestling players; it's like doing push-ups and then go shoot free throws, there's a good chance it won't go in. You feel funky and feel weird. It's tough. I run some sprints and shoot a free throw, or do some push-ups and shoot a free throw -- try to replicate the game. Repetition is the biggest key, trying to form that muscle memory.

You were named second-team All-Defense this season, a big accomplishment, and you sent out a tweet kind of snapping back at some who questioned it. Did you think you should've been on first team?

Roberson: There's great guys on first team. But I do understand that position. How can I phrase this? Let's just say I just wanted to put my point out there. That's that. But it's definitely an accomplishment in this league and blessed and grateful the league recognized it, the players as well. There's always going to be naysayers out there.

In other social media news, were you more frustrated that the bartender aired you out on Twitter by posting your tip or that your math reputation took a hit?

Roberson: More so the math, to be honest with you [laughs]. But, like I said, I'd had a couple. So I was just trying to get it done. I wasn't trying to really add it perfectly; I was trying to get out of there.

And you sent out a long message trying to clarify the situation.

Roberson: For sure. I just had to get my side of the story out there. It really just got blown out of proportion. The picture looks bad, to be honest. The math was wrong, but it is what it is.

Did you hear from any of your professors at Colorado about the tip miscalculation?

Roberson: I was like, "Yo, that's my bad, CU. Sorry that makes us look bad." Getting all these tweets from Colorado State fans, but it's cool. It looked way worse than it actually was. I shouldn't have even responded, I shouldn't have responded. Blew it out of proportion. But it's whatever. Things happen for a reason.

Steven Adams had a snarky tweet for you about it. You gotten him back yet?

That's between the boys. I couldn't tweet that. I've got something planned for him [laughs]. I couldn't tweet it out, but I've got something. I was like, "I let you have it this time, don't worry about it."