Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook signs 5-year extension

Darnell Mayberry joins The Athletic Chicago as new Bulls beat writer
Oklahoma City Thunder Rumors: Should Fans Worry About Russell Westbrook Moving if Extension Deadline Passes?
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01 October, 2017

The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because the team had not disclosed the deal.

Signing the Designated Veteran Player Extension will net Westbrook 35 percent of next year's salary cap - which projects to be $101 million, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania - in 2018-19.

Westbrook signed a multi-year contract extension with the Thunder Friday, saying there is "no place I'd rather be than Oklahoma City". Oklahoma City traded for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in the off-season and is poised to compete with the elite teams in the west. George will be a free agent after the season, and Westbrook's long-term commitment could conceivably improve the chances he stays put.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during a stoppage in play against the Los. The risk in trading for George and Anthony is that both can leave in free agency next summer.

Primarily because of Westbrook, the Thunder's marketability was sustained even after Durant left. Pictured: Westbrook reacts after scoring against the Houston Rockets in the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2017 in Oklahoma City.

The timing has many questioning Westbrook's motives.

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Russell Westbrook is back for the long term.

It is safe to say, this is Russell Westbrook's, and the Thunder's next chapter.

The Thunder offered Westbrook a five-year maximum extension July 1, but the reigning MVP waited almost three months to make the deal official.

Westbrook, who broke the National Basketball Association record for the most triple-doubles in a season with 42 in 2016-17, had been entering the second season of a three-year, $85.6m deal that is set to pay him $28.5m this season. In classic Westbrook fashion, he did it quietly, at 2:15 CST on the last Friday in September, he signed the richest deal in the National Basketball Association.

By foregoing free agency, Westbrook is letting his All-Star teammates know that he's committed to building a perennial victor in Oklahoma City. By the age that Westbrook will be the end of his extension, they had declined to an average of 9.0 WARP - a little bit shy of what typically merits an All-Star selection.

Westbrook will prove he is worth the large sum of money on the court.


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