Russell Westbrook just signed the most expensive contract in NBA history. The deal happened to take place on Kevin Durant’s birthday, but that is a story for another day. Westbrook’s new contract will guarantee him a record $233.5 million until the 2022/23 season. His actual extension is worth $205 million and starts next summer, and he will earn $28.5 million this season.
Westbrook will be 34 at the end of the five-year deal, so this contract really sums up his love for the Thunder organization and the fans. the 28-year-old’s new contract also assures him a player option for the 2022/23 season. Off the court, Westbrook just signed a ten-year shoe renewal deal with the Jordan brand for approximately $200 million, which subsequently has pushed his career earnings to almost half a billion dollars.
Contracts and legacies
It was nervous times for the Thunder as they had a deadline to get Westbrook to sign on the dotted line. October 16, the eve of the start of the regular season, is the last day on which franchises can sign players to supermax contracts. With the deal done and potential suitors fended away, OKC can breathe a sigh of relief.
Westbrook has been the focal point in Oklahoma for years and his relentlessness, combined with an intoxicating drive for success, has kept this team among the best in the Western Conference. While the likes of James Harden and Durant have moved on, Westbrook has consistently been vocal in making us aware that he has never, or will never, leave the city and its fans. He has already secured legendary status in Oklahoma, yet if there was any cause for debate about that fact, this new extension surely puts it to rest.
With his legacy in place, the MVP can now turn his attention to winning an elusive NBA Championship with the Thunder. He may no longer have Durant by his side, yet the acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony during the offseason should compensate for that. Coming off a record-breaking season, Westbrook is also primed to soar to even greater individual heights; with no contract issues to think about, his best may still be yet to come.
What happens around Westbrook?
Westbrook's contract extension ensures Thunder fans that their team will be a playoff contender for the next five years. It is now the job for management to plan who will play alongside the two-time scoring champion with the end goal to be an elite conference finals team once again.
OKC have a huge chance to go deep into the playoffs having gained George and Anthony, yet George is predicted to leave at the end of the 2017/18 season while Anthony will be 34 by season's end. Given Westbrook's long-term contract, the Thunder will need to find elite players that can complement their main man for the foreseeable future. Westbrook's extension could help bring new talent to the Thunder in years to come, or keep the likes of Anthony and George for as long as is feasible. With the six-time All-Star's commitment sealed, this could be the birth of a special era in the 405.
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