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Report: Russell Westbrook to sign new deal with Thunder on Thursday

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That sure didn’t take long.

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have apparently agreed on a renegotiation-and-extension.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

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.

Kawhi Leonard has ‘F U symbol’ on championship ring to remember which finger to put it on

Kawhi Leonard
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Following the great tradition of Shane Battier and Andrew Bogut, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard – who got his Raptors championship ring last night – had a special finger picked for it.

TSN:

Leonard:

I have a logo in there, and it’s on my middle finger. So, it reminds me to put it on my middle finger. So, I have like an F U symbol on there.

Leonard’s hand is filling up. He already earned a championship ring with the Spurs in 2014.

I suspect this ring is also for San Antonio.

Timberwolves’ Jarrett Culver on brother scoring 100 points in college game: ‘It felt like I was dreaming’

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Timberwolves rookie Jarrett Culver, the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, was the biggest basketball star of his family.

Emphasis on “was.”

Culver’s younger brother, J.J. Culver, scored 100 points in a game for Wayland Baptist University (Plainview, Texas) on Tuesday.

Jarrett, via Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis StarTribune:

“I left the gym and my phone just blew up,” Jarrett said. “Everyone is texting me, ‘Your brother, your brother.’ So I FaceTimed him. I was like, ‘No way!’ I didn’t know what to say. I was in shock. It felt like I was dreaming.”

“I feel like I dropped 100 the way I was celebrating with him. I was super-excited for him. He deserves it.”

J.J. shot:

  • 22-of-29 on 2-pointers
  • 12-of-33 on 3-pointers
  • 20-of-27 on free throws

Obviously, it’s unconventional for a single player to take 62 of his team’s 77 shots. But it doesn’t seem this was designed in advance. Nor does it seem Wayland Baptist runs a wild scheme. J.J. just got hot early, and his teammates then decided to keep feeding him. Obviously, by the end, he was gunning for records.

How will Jarrett one-up his brother now?

Celtics’ Kemba Walker flips over-shoulder pass to Jaylen Brown, who finishes with spinning dunk

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The Lakers aren’t Showtime 2.

Are the Celtics?

Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown ran one flashy fastbreak last night.

NBC Sports Boston:

Though Walker scored 44 points, Boston fell to the Pacers, 122-117.

Watch Bogdan Bogdanovic hit game-winning 3-pointer for Kings vs. Thunder (video)

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Another game, another Kings game-winning 3-pointer.

After Nemanja Bjelica hit a buzzer-beater against the Rockets on Monday, Bogdan Bogdanovic sunk the go-ahead 3-pointer against the Thunder last night. That stood as the game-winner once Richaun Holmes successfully defended Chris Paul on the other end, clinching Sacramento’s 94-93 victory.

The Kings have won three straight – over the Mavericks, Rockets and Thunder. The schedule softens over the next week and a half, giving Sacramento a real chance to rise in the Western Conference standings.

And if he keeps playing like this, Bogdanovic might find his way into a starting lineup.