For about two months now, Russell Westbrook has had a five-year, $207-million contract extension offer on the table from the Thunder.
So… why hasn't Russell Westbrook signed that extension yet? https://t.co/KwEQvf6wRa
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) August 24, 2017
The pact would make Russ the highest paid player in NBA history.
The deadline for the League’s reigning MVP to sign on the dotted line is Oct. 16, and you can be sure the executives in OKC are growing ever more nervous.
Why hasn’t Westbrook accepted the deal that would pay him $207 million over five years?
When Westbrook agreed to an extension last summer (with a player option on the final year), and talked about loyalty and his affinity for the Thunder, he didn’t know the new designated player extension was coming. He thought he was signing a deal that extended him to the 10-year veteran max, a bump to 35 percent of his team’s cap. He thought he’d play out two more seasons, and then revisit his future in free agency in the summer of 2018. He was making a commitment to the Thunder in the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure, and giving them a direction forward.
But when the new designated player extension was added to the collective bargaining agreement, Westbrook was made retroactively eligible (along with James Harden), and suddenly, he’s back to making a decision about his future. This time, though, without any fallout of a departed co-star, or potential threat of an imminent trade should he reject it.
If Westbrook can stomach the constant questions and speculation, he could wait until next year, opt out and hit the open market. The money is the same this summer or the next for Westbrook even with the extension rules, because he’d hit the 10-year threshold (assuming he re-signs with OKC). He could wait and get effectively the same deal.