Oklahoma City Thunder fans showed their support for Russell Westbrook as they hold up signage in their respective houses that bear the message “in Russ we Trust,” hoping to convince Westbrook to renegotiate his contract with the team and avoid free agency next season.
Clearly, the Thunder fans are sending a message of hope that they would not want a repeat of what happened with the case of Kevin Durant, who left them this summer to sign with the Golden State Warriors. But the 27-year old native out of Long Beach, California has already stated that he would not want any renegotiation of his contract with the Thunder. In short, Westbrook is keeping his end of the bargain by playing out his last season with them and then get into free agency next year.
Thunder are exhausting all possible options to keep their veteran point guard as they have waived Dion Waiters in the process to open up their cap space should Westbrook sit it out to renegotiate. There are also those rumors that the Thunder would team Westbrook with Blake Griffin once the 27-year old Oklahoma City native goes into free agency next summer.
One of the reasons why Westbrook would want to jump into free agency next year is the looming increase in salary cap again that is projected to be around $108 million. Westbrook sees that opportunity for a stable future and would want to take advantage of that as well. Currently, Westbrook still enjoys a $17.770 million base salary for the next season. With the pending increase by next year, Westbrook is hoping to get more for a stable future.
But the Thunder are also facing that fact that if they would lose Westbrook to free agency next year, they might as well place him in the trading option to get something in return as they would rebuild their team. However, the thought of Westbrook joining the free agency next year would have teams wait for one more season so as to sign him with future assurance. Teams see it risky to open up trade talks with a disgruntled player.
But for the Thunder fans they have faith that Westbrook would reconsider his decision and hope that their voice would be taken into consideration. Losing Durant this year was already painful for the Thunder fans, the thought of losing Westbrook as well would seem a downfall of the franchise.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr