Russell Westbrook, Thunder agree to contract extension
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:
Russell Westbrook would be in position to cash in with a massive contract in July of 2018…
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 4, 2016
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.