Katz: Russell Westbrook has had this extension offer on the table for about a month. You think he’s going to sign it? Kanter: He knows that there is not another place on Earth that people love him like OKC fans do. I see him like my brother, and he loves it here. I hope he’ll stay. He’s a huge part of our family. Katz: Is the extension a thing you guys talk about? Kanter: No. We don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about it, yeah. Katz: Is that awkward? Is it an elephant in the room? Kanter: It is awkward. Of course it is awkward, but in the end, it’s a business. We don’t really talk about it, but we know how much we love each other.
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He’s gone to France and Mexico. He’s been to Disney. He’s done awards shows and red carpets and who knows what else, and even though he flew from his offseason home in Los Angeles to Oklahoma City late Wednesday night, he still hasn’t find time for stroke of a pen that will be worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. What’s the hold up, Russ? I don’t ask that to cause a panic — there’s still plenty of time for Westbrook to sign his Designated Veteran Player Exception — but rather to explore some possible answers.
The same goes for Westbrook. This guy, if you hadn’t noticed, dances to his own beat — and he doesn’t like anyone to know the rhythm. He likes to keep people guessing. What’s more, he loves having that control. This, my friends, is the ultimate power play. Every other player who became eligible on July 1 for the NBA’s new Designated Veteran Player Exception has already done so. Blake Griffin and Steph Curry did it on the first day. James Harden did it in the first week. John Wall fell in line in the third week. Westbrook is the only other guy who can do one of the megamax deals this summer. And even though the calendar has turned to August, he still hasn’t signed.
But then Tuesday, Westbrook shared a cryptic tweet that made you wonder if his focus was turning to the business of basketball. He rarely posts anything on social media that isn’t about his family, his friends or his interests, but this tweet was about the media’s use of “sources”. “Sources say … ” part of his tweet read. Who knows what exactly he was referring to, but when The Oklahoman reached out to him during his return to town Wednesday seeking clarity on his extension, he declined to say anything. Only a day after mocking unnamed sources, he opted to not go on the record to offer any information.
Don’t expect the MVP to sign a contract extension with the Thunder while he’s in town. Westbrook arrived in OKC late Wednesday night, but a source told The Oklahoman that the trip is not so he can sign a contract extension. Though Westbrook spends much of his summer at his home in Los Angeles, he makes periodic offseason trips to Oklahoma City. There’s no expectation that this one is to sign the extension.
Less than three months away from the deadline, Russell Westbrook is yet to sign the five-year extension the Oklahoma City Thunder have offered him.
No other team could offer the same deal if Westbrook were to hit free agency. He could still receive a contract that starts at 35 percent of the cap if he chooses to become a free agent next summer but would receive only five percent raises per season and could sign for up to only four years. Yet, the reigning MVP has made the Thunder wait almost a month, already. And it could end up being longer — maybe forever, though the organization remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects of Westbrook signing for the long term before the start of the season.
Fred Katz: Multiple sources say Westbrook has NOT already signed extension as one report indicates. Thunder remain cautiously optimistic he’ll extend.
In addition to Westbrook’s $28.5 million salary in 2017-18, he’d receive an estimated $207 million over the length of the extension (until the 2022-23 season), which would amount to more than $235 million – and an average salary of $39.2 million, which would be a U.S. professional sports record. Like Harden’s annual salary, Westbrook’s is subject to change based on future salary cap projections.
Harden joined Golden State’s Stephen Curry this summer as the only $200 million dollar men in the NBA. Westbrook can be the next in the club and the new benchmark in sports if he and the Thunder agree to a five-year extension. In addition to Westbrook’s $28.5 million salary in 2017-18, he’d receive an estimated $207 million over the length of the extension (until the 2022-23 season), which would amount to more than $235 million – and an average salary of $39.2 million, which would be a U.S. professional sports record. Like Harden’s annual salary, Westbrook’s is subject to change based on future salary cap projections.
While Westbrook isn’t expected to sign the five-year, $217 million extension offer on Friday night, he knows the offer is there with a pen waiting when he wants it. It will be there until the deadline at the start of the regular season, and now all the noise about what it means that he isn’t signing it right away is lessened because of the George acquisition.
Two sources believe that Oklahoma City’s acquisition of George likely assures that Russell Westbrook will sign the five-year designated player veteran extension, which aligns with what ESPN’s Royce Young reported earlier this week.
Ramona Shelburne: This doesn’t necessarily change how Russell Westbrook is going to handle his situation re: extension talks. But obviously this is big
The Thunder will offer him a brand-new, five-year extension — Westbrook is locked in for 2017-18 — when the clock strikes midnight on July 1, making him one of the highest-paid players in NBA history, should he take it. It would signal a complete commitment to the Thunder, with Westbrook shucking any thoughts of joining a super-team elsewhere to take on the Golden State Warriors juggernaut, as he embarks on a mission to slay the giant on his own terms.
Those close to Westbrook fully expect him to take the Thunder’s offer, quite possibly at 12:01 a.m., and stabilize the franchise and present a clear road map. Westbrook signed an extension last summer and invoked the word “loyalty” for a reason. He wanted to make a statement — a public declaration — and take on the burden of leading the franchise forward.
He likes the existing roster and has a close relationship and confidence in Presti and Weaver. He has built a strong bond with head coach Billy Donovan. He knew what he signed for and, with the Thunder coming off a successful first post-Durant season and with pieces in place to improve the team, there are a lot of reasons to commit again.
Brett Dawson: Westbrook says his contract extension “is not really on my mind” tonight. Says he’ll move on after this and think about it.
“One thing I saw about him is he’s a loyal guy,” Kanter said. “I understand he’s from L.A., he loves L.A., he goes to L.A. every summer, but he’s a loyal player. “I think he’s gonna finish his career in Oklahoma City.”
The expectation is that the Thunder will meet with Westbrook at the start of free agency and offer him that five-year extension. If he takes it, he’ll solidify himself as the face of the franchise, and the hub around which Presti will try to reconstruct a championship contender. But if Westbrook isn’t willing to commit, it would almost certainly set off a frenzied bidding war for Westbrook’s services — and, in doing so, give Presti the chance he didn’t have with Durant: to get something in return for a departing star.
With another summer of uncertainty on the horizon, Thunder general manager Sam Presti is “hopeful” the franchise can sign Russell Westbrook to a new long-term 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.”
Asked about the desire to find a quick fix and secondary star to pair with Westbrook, Presti took a subtle jab at the league. “The first thing I’m going to do is go back to the office and call Adam Silver and see if he can arrange one of those cap spikes,” Presti said. “I’m learning those things tend to come in handy.”
Fred Katz: Presti on RWB extension: “Hopeful that he remains really excited about being part of this organization for the remainder of his career”
Russell Westbrook said he hasn’t yet considered signing a long-term contract extension with Oklahoma City, but the Thunder star said he wants to be with the organization long-term. “I haven’t thought about anything,” Westbrook said Wednesday, the day after the Thunder’s season ended with a Game 5 loss in Houston. “Obviously, everybody knows that I like Oklahoma City and I love being here. I love everybody here. But I haven’t even thought about that. I’m worried about making sure my wife was all right, so everything else really doesn’t matter at this point.” Westbrook and his wife, Nina, are expecting their first child soon.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he would defer to general manager Sam Presti on who would surround Westbrook in the future. “I’ve got a lot of trust and confidence in Sam,” Donovan said during exit interviews. “I think he works tirelessly each and every day to try to figure out ways to improve this team. I think he’ll look at that. We’ll probably have a chance to sit down and talk about those things.”
After signing an extension last summer in the wake of Durant’s departure, Westbrook can sign another in the ballpark of $220 million over five years this summer. Westbrook is signed through the 2017-18 season, with a player option on the following year, but the Thunder would obviously like to have a longer commitment from their franchise player. The expectation is that they will make the offer, but should Westbrook decline, all that talk of stabilizing the franchise would get a little more wobbly, and with only a year guaranteed, talk of trading him could spark again. It will certainly be alarming for the front office, especially after what it went through with Durant.
As the Thunder know all too well, players can change their minds, but the expectation is that Westbrook is committed to the Thunder for the foreseeable future. With the chance to become a $40 million per year player and the highest paid in the NBA while loving the franchise and its direction, Westbrook seems to have every reason to re-up again.
The National Basketball Association’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a special provision that grandfathers Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook into the windfall of super-max contract extensions available to several star players this summer, league sources told The Vertical. This summer, Westbrook could sign a five-year, $219 million contract extension that would begin in the 2018-19 season. He’ll make $28.5 million in 2017-18.
Not long after Durant’s decision Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City for his annual basketball camp, and general manager Sam Presti met him back at the dog-food gym. The Thunder were prepared to offer Westbrook a maximum contract extension, and if he turned it down, they’d have no choice but to consider those trade offers. “I don’t want you to do this because you feel you need to,” Presti said. “I want you to do it because you want to.” Westbrook could have told Presti that he’d talk about free agency next year, setting up the Summer of Russ, and all the ensuing attention. But Presti had a pretty good feeling that he wouldn’t. “One way or another he lets you know where you stand,” Adams says, “and he doesn’t do it with a whisper. He does it with a few more decibels than that.”
And yet as the rest of the NBA expected Westbrook to begin executing his exit strategy – perhaps to the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks – his own mind kept returning to Oklahoma City. Westbrook felt invested in the franchise, reveled in the role of a young core’s leader and became intrigued with the challenge of persuading a co-star to join him in free agency. “The idea of running out to find a super team, that isn’t who he is,” one source close to Westbrook told The Vertical. “He thought, ‘These are my guys here,’ and he wanted to go to battle with them.”
Westbrook’s free agency loomed in the summer of 2017. The Thunder couldn’t afford to lose two All-NBA players for nothing in consecutive years. If Westbrook had left an impression that the loss of Durant left him unenthusiastic about the franchise’s future – never mind unwilling – sources say the next step would’ve come swiftly: Westbrook would have been moved into the marketplace, traded for a package of young players and draft picks.
Durant was again asked about Westbrook’s decision to renegotiate a three-year contract worth $85 million that will keep his former running mate with the Thunder for at least one more year beyond next season. “I’m happy to see any player in this league do whatever they want to do,” Durant said. “As long as he wasn’t pressured to do anything and felt like he did everything he wanted to do. And that’s how I feel about every player in this league. It’s good for him, man. It’s good for his family. It’s good for the people in Oklahoma City that love to watch him play and love to have him on their team. “I got nothing but positive energy and vibes for everybody. I don’t have no beef with anybody or wish no ill will on anybody. So if he did what he wanted to do, that’s better. That’s great for him.”
Anthony Slater: Russell Westbrook said he found out about Kevin Durant’s decision “like y’all found out.” Said KD texted him once after the fact, haven’t spoken since.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed guard Russell Westbrook to a contract extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am grateful to extend my contract with the Thunder and continue to play with the only organization that I have played for and have loved being a part of since I was drafted into the NBA,” said Westbrook. “I’m really excited about moving forward with this group of guys and continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world.”
“On behalf of the Thunder organization and the entire State of Oklahoma I want to congratulate Russ and offer my sincere appreciation for not only his profound presence and skill as a player, but for his high character, personal integrity and extraordinary leadership,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder chairman. “We are thrilled he will continue with us and we look forward to exciting days ahead for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”
“Russell has been an outstanding leader of this team since he was drafted by our organization eight years ago. His competitiveness, character, and unique athletic ability have propelled him to the forefront of the game,” said Presti. “Russell personifies many of the traits that are synonymous with Oklahoma and Oklahomans. We are excited that Russell has chosen to continue to build the legacy of the Thunder with us as we move forward together.”
Steve Kyler: Just an FYI, after signing renegotiated deal, Westbrook not tradeable for 6 months.
Ramona Shelburne: Been driving all evening (no tweeting while driving!) but wanted to shout out @KDN4 for first mention of advanced Westbrook contract talks
Spencer Dinwiddie: Lol and when he opts out, where will he go? 🤔 that’s the real question..
All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder have reached agreement in principle on a new three-year contract worth $85.7 million, league sources told ESPN.
Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook has agreed to a three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation, league sources told The Vertical. Westbrook, a five-time All-Star, and his agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, are planning to fly to Oklahoma City on Thursday morning, sign the deal and likely hold a news conference with Thunder ownership and executives, league sources told The Vertical.
The proposed deal would include a player option on the third year, which would clear the way for Westbrook to return to free agency in 2018.
In the structure of a proposed deal, the renegotiation would move Westbrook’s salary in 2016-17 from $17.8 million to a $26.5 million max salary. Westbrook would make $28.5 million in 2017-18 and $30.6 million in the third year under the proposed renegotiated deal. Oklahoma City is able to offer the extension because it has the appropriate salary-cap space available.
Westbrook has remained mum, but he and the Thunder have been in communication often since Durant’s departure. Plenty want to hear from Westbrook, but he isn’t going to play out his free agency in the public eye. There won’t be any “I’ll make that decision when the time comes” mediaspeak. It’s not hard to gauge him when it comes to public comments; he’s as transparent as they come. And with Durant now gone, Westbrook understands the gravity of his own choice — he leaves, and the organization burns to the ground in a summer. So he wants to give them clarity to either move on with or without him.
The Thunder are still reeling from the sting of Durant’s decision, and most in the organization have been left jaded by a cornerstone piece saying all the right things and then turning another direction at the last minute. Even with Westbrook’s history of avoiding doublespeak, actions speak louder than words. So the Thunder are pushing for it, and their decision to rescind Dion Waiters’ qualifying offer suggests they’re paving a way to do it.
Tommy Beer: Waiters signing w/ MIA means his $12.8 MM cap hold comes off OKC’s books. Thunder now far enough under cap to offer Westbrook max extension
It would be crippling for the Thunder to lose two Hall of Fame level talents over two consecutive summers and receive nothing in return. So with that threat in mind, OKC is now open to trading Westbrook, a source told me late Sunday, but they’re still trying to get him to commit long-term. “OKC is still trying to get Russell Westbrook to sign a contract extension,” the source explained, “which he won’t do because extensions at this time aren’t in a player’s best interest anymore. He won’t do it.”
In Westbrook’s case, Oklahoma City can add an additional three years to his current contract but would need to use cap space now to change the salary parameters. Like the Rockets recently with James Harden, the benefit of choosing the renegotiation route not only rewards the player financially but also the team. Harden, who was set to become a free agent in 2018, is now signed to a max contract that reflects the new TV money but also makes a longer commitment to the Rockets.
Although Oklahoma City could renegotiate his contract for an additional three seasons, the best approach for Westbrook would be to look at a short-term commitment. Westbrook, currently with eight years of service, could renegotiate his salary for this season to reflect a max-level contract while adding two additional years, with the third being a player option.
David Aldridge: Told emphatically by league source there’s no chance Russell Westbrook will do a renegotiation/extension of his contract (one yr remaining). That does not mean there’s no chance W’Brook could re-sign in OKC in ‘17. It just makes no sense financially to do renegotiation/extension.
If Westbrook chooses not to extend his contract this summer, multiple league executives told ESPN they believe the Thunder will consider fielding trade offers for Westbrook.
The Oklahoma City Thunder potentially have a major decision to make with Russell Westbrook after the departure of Kevin Durant. One option the team is considering is attempting to renegotiate and extend the contract of Westbrook before he can become a free agent after next season, sources told ESPN.
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August 23, 2017 | 11:03 pm EDT Update
When the Cavaliers talked to the Knicks about Kyrie Irving, Cleveland brass had no interest in discussing Carmelo Anthony. Kristaps Porzingis was their lone focus.
With Phil Jackson gone, it’s not as farfetched for the Knicks to consider taking back Iman Shumpert, who had been looking at a change of scenery, too. Shumpert was the Knicks’ first-round pick in 2011. Still, many league sources believe the salary-cap mathematics for an Anthony trade still will be tough to pull off with Cleveland.
The chance of Anthony being bought out anytime soon by the new Knicks front office headed by president Steve Mills is slim. The Knicks are bracing for Anthony’s return with training camp less than five weeks away. Coach Jeff Hornacek reportedly attended one of Anthony’s recent training sessions at the Lifetime Athletic gym he owns in a midtown high-rise.
There is a single reason teams keep sniffing out the availability of Klay Thompson, and it’s far more easily understood than the myriad reasons the Warriors keep telling them no. No fewer than four teams have either reached out or considered reaching out, the latest being revealed as the detested Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeBron James has been silent about Isaiah Thomas joining the Cavs, but he had plenty say about his own game Wednesday evening. James, who is working out in Los Angeles twice a day with trainer Mike Mancias and Cavs coaches and player development staff, posted to Instagram footage of him scrimmaging in a famous auxiliary gym on the campus of UCLA.