After eight seasons, Russell Westbrook decided to stay with Oklahoma City Thunder. After many rumors about Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and even San Antonio Spurs, he will stay three more years in Oklahoma City.
Westbrook, 27, will sign the contract on Thursday in Oklahoma City, sources said.
Talks between the sides centered on the addition of two more years to Westbrook's current deal, which expires after the 2016-17 season. The new deal calls for an $8.7 million increase in Westbrook's salary for this season, from $17.8 million to the maximum $26.5 million. He would then earn the max the next two seasons.
Only one of those two seasons is guaranteed, though.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical noted that Westbrook’s salary for the upcoming 2016-17 season increases from $17.8 million to $26.5 million maximum. The five-time All-Star will then make $28.5 million for the 2017-18 season while having a $30.6 million player option.
I fully expect Russell to take over on the offensive end for the Thunder every game this season. He’s shown us what he can do when Durant isn’t playing alongside him (Dropping consecutive triple doubles when Durant was injured in 2015), and I’m hoping he can replicate that performance this season. And who knows, if OKC win a few games and make the playoffs as a 5th seed or above, Westbrook might have a chance at his first MVP award.
This situation in Oklahoma reminds me of the Portland situation last year. LaMarcus Aldridge, first violin of the Trail Blazers, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum left Portland. Only one man stayed. Damian Lillard, a rapper from Oakland. Together with CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mason Plumlee and others, they went to the Western Conference Semifinals. In a season where everyone predicts them to have between 20 and 25 wins, they won 44 games! CJ got a MIP award. Incredible season for the Trail Blazers.
Can OKC do something similar? They have potential and with Russell leading this group, it will be no surprise to see that next season.