The free agency class of 2018 is expected to be one of the biggest in a long time and one of the top names who could potentially be available is Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
Of course the Thunder were determined to not let Westbrook ever hit free agency and had a five-year maximum contract extension available for him to sign. Westbrook took some time deciding whether or not he wanted to remain in Oklahoma City, but the decision has finally been made.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook has agreed to a five-year, $205 million extension with the Thunder:
Russell Westbrook has agreed to a five-year, $205M contract extension with OKC, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 29, 2017
It was always expected that Westbrook would eventually sign the extension so most aren’t surprised at his decision. The most important thing for the Thunder was ensuring they didn’t lose him like they lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors last summer.
In order to do that, the franchise had to make some moves to show Westbrook that they were committed to winning and trading for a pair of All-Stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony certainly qualifies.
This is a huge blow for the Los Angeles Lakers and other teams who planned on pursuing Westbrook in free agency next year. With him now off the board, the Lakers will have to turn their attention elsewhere when the time comes. Additionally, Westbrook staying, combined with a good season for the Thunder, could result in George deciding to stay in Oklahoma City long-term as well.
For the time being, all the Lakers can do is focus on the season ahead of them as their young team looks to surprise everyone around the league this season. The better they look this year, the more likely they will be able to convince a big star to join in free agency to take them over the top.