Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder suffered an early elimination in the NBA Playoffs 2017. With their eyes focused in the upcoming offseason, Thunder general manager Sam Presti hopes that Westbrook will sign a new long-term contract extension.
“The rules are that you can’t have that conversation until July 1, and you know, when that time comes, we’ll sit down, we’ll have conversations with him about what that opportunity presents,” Presti said Monday at his end-of-season availability. “And you know, we’re obviously hopeful that he remains really excited about being a part of this organization for the remainder of his career.”
Will Russell Westbrook sign the “supermax” extension with OKC?
After Kevin Durant left OKC for the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder decided to give Russell Westbrook a three-year, $80 million contract extension. The contract includes a player option in the final year. This enables Westbrook to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
With the new collective bargaining agreement, the Thunder star will be eligible for a Designated Player Extension. This could be a five-year, $217 million “supermax” extension which will make him the highest-paid player in the NBA history. However, in a post-game interview, Westbrook revealed that he isn’t yet thinking about signing an extension.
“That’s something, like I said, I haven’t thought about anything, obviously,” Westbrook said. “Everybody knows that I like Oklahoma City and I love being here and I love everybody here. But I haven’t even thought about that. Obviously, Oklahoma City is a place that I want to be.”
As most people think, Westbrook doesn’t want to be the second most hated NBA player in OKC. Though he expressed his intention to stay, the Thunder should do their part to convince Westbrook. Despite Westbrook’s incredible performance this season, the Thunder need to add at least one superstar to become a legitimate title contender next season.
OKC Thunder’s targets: Blake Griffin, Gordon Hayward or Paul George
In the upcoming season, several NBA superstars will become available via trade or in the free agency market. Since losing Durant, Blake Griffin emerged as one of the Thunder’s top targets last summer. Like the Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers also suffered an early elimination in the West playoffs.
There are speculations that the Clipper will consider breaking their “Big Three” this summer. Griffin will become a free agent and could be on the Thunder’s radar once again. Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward and Paul George will be the perfect replacement for Durant. The Thunder obviously need an upgrade at small forward and another prolific scorer.
Hayward will also become a free agent this summer while George is expected to be available on the trade market. Acquiring Griffin, Hayward or George will undeniably strengthen the Thunder’s chance of contending for the title next season.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA