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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Russell Westbrook, Thunder agree to contract extension

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook looks like he will be staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder for at least another season.

The All-Star point guard is flying to Oklahoma City to sign a contract extension, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. The Thunder are planning to hold a press conference Thursday to announce the deal.

According to Woj, the terms of the contract extension are three years for $85 million.

Though the contract extension is for three years, it doesn’t necessarily mean Westbrook will remain with the Thunder for another three seasons.

Westbrook was scheduled to make $17.8 million for the upcoming season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. With the new deal, the Thunder are bumping Westbrook’s salary for 2016-2017 to $26.5 million. They also will pay him $28.5 million in 2017-2018.

The key part of the deal is that the third year will be a player option at $30.6 million for 2018-2019.

The implications of the extension are that barring a trade, the Thunder are getting an extra season of Westbrook guaranteed. The trade-off is that they’re increasing his pay for the upcoming season by around $9 million.

After two seasons pass, Westbrook will then have the choice to remain with the Thunder for $30.6 million, or he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. At that point he will have the ability to sign with another team, or he can try for a max contract with the Thunder.

A max contract signed in 2018 projects to be worth around $40 million a season:

For now, Westbrook is getting a nice pay raise and the ability to show what he can do as a team leader without Kevin Durant.

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