Last year, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett declared Aug. 4 Russell Westbrook Day in the city because Westbrook signed an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In the wake of Kevin Durant leaving for Golden State, Westbrook declared, “There is nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” at a press conference announcing the extension.
Westbrook went on to have a season for the ages, becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double, which led to a Most Valuable Player award. He and his wife Nina welcomed their first child days after he broke the single-season triple-double record.
Although the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs, they’ve enhanced the roster this season with the addition of All-Star Paul George. All should be good in Thunder land, right?
Well, George is in the final year of his contract and has publicly declared his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, which just so happens to be near Westbrook’s hometown. The extension Westbrook signed last year gives him a player option to leave after the upcoming season.
Under a new collective bargaining agreement, the Thunder offered Westbrook a new Designated Veteran Player Extension worth $235 million over six years on July 1.
Westbrook has a flair for the dramatic, whether it’s buzzer-beating shots or a stylish wardrobe, so perhaps the decision to wait to sign the extension is more of the same. He has until the opening tip of the season in October to sign. Team officials have reportedly expressed confidence he will sign the deal in both The Oklahoman and The Norman Transcript.
The Thunder is expected to be among the top teams in the Western Conference this season. Hopefully that’s enough to keep Westbrook and convince George to sign as well.