Wednesday afternoon started the rumors. Rumors that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook were in “serious negotiations” on a three-year, $85 million contract renegotiation.
First reported by Adam Joseph Wednesday afternoon but no one took his reports seriously based on the fact that he’s not quite as well known as NBA insiders like Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Broussard.
Russell Westbrook is set to sign an extension with OKC. Details are with the league for final approvals. Press conference is tomorrow.
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) August 3, 2016
A few hours later, Woj finally spoke, verifying what Joseph said.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) August 4, 2016
Russell Westbrook just became a god in the state of Oklahoma…probably more so than Kevin Durant ever was and that’s saying something. He clearly sees something in Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization that’s promising. He clearly trusts that Sam Presti will make the right decisions in bringing even more talent to this Thunder roster now around a core of Westbrook, Victor Oladipo, Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Andre Roberson. He knows that OKC is the best situation to be in, and refreshingly, Russell seems to be one of those old school players that would much rather remain loyal to the organization that took a multi-million dollar gamble on him based on his talent and character.
Great day for Thunder fans after the drama-filled summer. OKC’s real superstar decided to stay loyal to this city. Much respect.
— A. Suave Francisco (@SuaveFrancisco_) August 4, 2016
The contract renegotiation came out to be worth exactly $85.7 million for three more seasons with a player option in 2018-2019.
This renegotiation may just be the biggest news in Thunder history. Many may argue that statement, but he’s literally saved the city from complete turmoil and proved that yes, some people do want to live in Oklahoma City over pretty much any other NBA city in America. Also, this decision by Russell eliminates many people’s preconceived thoughts that Russell was a self-centered jerk, that wanted all the glory and bright lights of a big city. Along with the impression that he was the player between him and Kevin Durant that may be easily influenced into making questionable decisions and wasn’t “all about the team.” Well, it turned out to be the complete opposite.
Off the court, Russell is a very reserved guy. You rarely ever know what he’s doing other than when he’s on Snapchat dancing and whatnot. Meanwhile, you’ll catch Kevin Durant going through his adolescent stage at almost 28 years old.
As mentioned in a past article on why Russell Westbrook will stay in OKC, I mentioned that he wants to by ‘the guy.’ The guy that helps build a franchise to the top while being the undisputed leader of the team. Now, it’s not even a question…he’s OKC’s guy.
“Russell’s authentic personality reflects a man that wants to be number one, he doesn’t enjoy being second to any team or player. He did what was best for the Thunder all these years by taking a backseat role to Kevin Durant even though this team seemed to be Westbrook’s team the past two seasons (possibly why Kevin wanted out). Now he can be rewarded with a chance to be the undisputed leader of this team”
A. Suave Francisco, Fansided.com.
Russell is expected to fly back to Oklahoma City from Beverly Hills, California early in the morning so he can sign the contract extension. Thursday will be highly anticipated for Thunder fans and members of the Oklahoma City media. Now, everyone can relax and anxiously wait for the 2016-2017 season to begin.
Side note: Apparently while Russell has been in Los Angeles, so has newly acquired guard Victor Oladipo and head coach Billy Donovan. All three have been working out together throughout the summer, so this is a decision that Russell made from the jump. He was just waiting for his agent and Presti to negotiate an extension to his liking.