That sure didn’t take long.
Russell Westbrook has agreed in principle to a new deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be signed Thursday, per sources.
Technically this is a renegotiation (of this year’s contract) and a 1+1 extension for Westbrook. Total value $85.7 million and change.
Westbrook – who was slated to earn $17,769,374 next season – will seemingly receive his max of:
- 2016-17: $26,540,100
- 2017-18: $28,530,608
- 2018-19: $30,670,403 (player option)
- Total: $85,741,111
That’ll get him more than an $8 million raise this year and allow him to hit free agency in 2018, when he’ll have 10 years of experience and be eligible for a higher max tier based on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Thunder gain greater control of their remaining superstar after Kevin Durant‘s departure. Undoubtedly, their primary goal will be to win with Westbrook. Because Westbrook will be locked up next summer, they could even chase another star – maybe Blake Griffin – in 2017 free agency to complement an emerging core that already includes Steven Adams and Blake Griffin.
And if the plan goes south, Oklahoma City can still trade Westbrook after six months. If he signs the extension Thursday, that’d make eligible to be dealt Feb. 4 – 12 days before the presumptive trade deadline. With more than a single season left on his deal, the Thunder could probably get a better return then than they could’ve now without an extension.
Whether it’s Plan A or Plan B, Oklahoma City is in much better shape now. This is a huge victory for the franchise, which lost plenty of luster with Durant’s departure.
Westbrook, for his part, gets a nice raise for committing.