The Thunder have exactly one week from today to sign Russell Westbrook to an extension before he will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. So why haven't the Thunder come to terms yet with their all-star point guard?
There are a few things holding this deal up, so let's break them down.
1. Westbrook and his agent feel like he is a max salary player. Being an all-star last year and 2nd team All-NBA would usually indicate a max player. However, the Thunder already have a max player in Durant and if they want to have any shot whatsoever at keeping together their young core then Westbrook is going to have to agree to take a little less. Having Durant and Westbrook both at max salaries would tie up around 60% of the Thunder's payroll and not leave much to keep players like Harden and Ibaka whose contacts run out next season.
2. The Derrick Rose rule. What does that mean? Without trying to get all fancy, it basically means if he makes the All-NBA team again this year then he would be retroactively awarded a much larger sum of money then what the Thunder originally agreed to pay him. Durant is already benefiting from said rule and if the Thunder sign Westbrook to a max extension and then he makes the All-NBA team then that would put the Thunder in all sorts of financial woes.
3. Is Westbrook really a max salary player? OK, so I've come off of my hostility towards Russell a bit since my last Thunder article
, but I still have to wonder if the Thunder would really want to risk losing out on Harden and Ibaka long term in favor of Westbrook. By the looks of things it appears as though Presti is trying to work out a deal where he doesn't have to choose and can keep all of the core intact. With Maynor going down for the year it has become critical for Westbrook to improve his play and for the Thunder front office to put aside any potential trade thoughts.
In the end, I think Westbrook will become a restricted free agent, but eventually sign an extension with the Thunder. Ultimately it's up to Westbrook though if he wants to be a team player and accept a little less cash with the opportunity at multiple championships keeping the core together or if he's all about the highest bidder and getting his. He has already proven quite selfish on the court, time will tell if he has the same mentality off as well.
A die hard Sooner fan through and through. Micah transferred his allegiance to the Oklahoma City Thunder the year the Mavs won the title (go figure). He believes the Thunder and Sooners have many titles to come in the not too distant future. Most of his comments are not backed up by any sort of fact based reasoning, but you can trust him.
9 thoughts on “Will Westbrook Sign an Extension?”
I think we’re about to find out what kind of guy he really is. I’m not sure that we are gonna like it either.
1) a max salary player doesn’t have the solid string of off nights that Westbrook seems to have.
2) Westbrook can be selfish on the court. When he’s down, he doesn’t recognize it, rather, he keeps pushing it and screwing up out of anger.
3) I have thought for a while now that he doesn’t particularly like being second to Kevin Durant and I’m not so sure that he can handle his salary being that much less than KD. It’s almost like he sees them on the same level.
Now, I too, was critical of Westbrook in the beginning of the season but he has stepped up in a big way lately. But let’s face it, we’ve seen that before. I’ll be convinced of him being a changed player when the consistency shows to still be there late in the season.
Can we function without Westbrook? You bet. Maynor will be healthy again next year and I think Reggie Jackson will make a good player as well.
I wouldn’t be Opposed to Presti trying to make a trade and pull in another big name.
I don’t hate Westbrook but his past speaks of selfishness and there really isn’t room for that on this team. I really hope he’s grown as a player in result to criticism he got early in the season and hope they come to an agreement for extension. I just don’t see it being the end of the world if not.
I agree on all your points Fraze. Part of me wants to keep Westbrook and hope he blossoms into one of the best true PG’s in the league, but another piece of me can’t stand watching him lose his mind game after game and sabotaging the team. He has so many good qualities, but so many bad habits that it’s just hard to overlook them and just hope he eventually changes. If it came down to it, I’d rather keep Harden and Ibaka and let Maynor run the point, but that’s just me.
The points that Maynor scores do not show up on the stat sheets the way others do. He recognizes that he is a PG and he runs the offense the way it should be. He sets up the offense, moves the ball around, and takes his shots when they’re there to take. Not forces em. I’m with you on keeping those three. The dynamic is too nice.
What interesting about this is the Thunder are not like Orlando with Howard. If they decide to not resign Westbrook, it doesn’t hurt them that much. Maynor as prove he can be a really good pg and Reggie Jackson as moments where it seems he will be really good as well. If it was me I would definitely keep Harden and Ibaka and see what I could get for Westbrook. he true Superstar like he
Great article, OleLee. You and I think alike on this regard. Here’s my deal….if we can’t keep Harden, then I’m not interested in keeping Westbrook. That may sound strange, but if I had to pick, I’d pick the play maker and scorer in Harden, vs. a combo point guard in Westbrook. I know Westbrook has made huge strides since his 0-for-a million game vs. Memphis a few games back, but I still can’t see this lasting long. This team will relish WITH or WITHOUT Westbrook. Maynor can handle being a starter, and I’m with Fraze, Jackson is going to turn out really good from what I’ve seen. THUNDER UP BOYS! Gonna be a fun ride!
I think you guys are underselling Westbrook a little. He is still young and growing and has HUGE potential. To just let that walk away is a major risk that I am convinced Thunder fans would hate to see happen. If they are 100% sure they can’t sign him then they need to trade him and get what they can.
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