Russell Westbrook: Oklahoma City Thunder Can Offer Maximum Contract? Trade To Lakers Still Possible

NBA player Russell Westbrook could possibly end up with a maximum contract extension from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN reports that the Thunder have the option to provide Westbrook with a maximum level extension – securing a long-term spot for the All-Star point guard on the team roster.

With Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors and Dion Waiters reportedly heading to the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder would essentially have to start from scratch without Russell Westbrook in their line-up. Reports claim that the team’s primary objective now is to secure a long-term position for Westbrook in the off-season – which is where an impressive extension offer could seal the deal.

Russell Westbrook [Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]Waiters became an unrestricted free agent earlier this month after the Oklahoma City Thunder rescinded his $6.8 million qualifying offer. As long as he signs with the Miami Heat, the $12.8 million cap hold will be removed from the Thunder’s books – dropping them down nearly $14 million below the salary cap. According to ESPN, the Thunder only need $8.7 million to offer Russell Westbrook a maximum contract extension.

With the possibility of Russell becoming an unrestricted free agent next year, he is still set to make $17.7 million during the upcoming season. With a renegotiated deal, however, he could easily boost his annual pay to over $27 million instead. The rising salary cap may seem to open a window of opportunity for Russell to make more money if he holds out until next year. However, Royce Young with ESPN claims that the exact opposite is the case.

“In the long term, Westbrook will make more money on a renegotiated extension than if he waits to sign a max level contract next summer, even with the rising salary cap.”

What if Russell Westbrook decides to reject an extension offered by the Oklahoma City Thunder? Even if the team does offer a maximum contract extension, Russell may still decide to walk away from the deal. However, chances are that refusing the offer would increase the chances of the Oklahoma City Thunder parting ways with Westbrook by trading him.

Russell Westbrook [Photo by Alonzo Adams/AP Images]There has been a lot of rumors and speculation circulating about Russell Westbrook possibly leaving the Thunder to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Waiting until he is an unrestricted free agent would allow him to have a chance to negotiate a solid deal for himself. That’s exactly what Dwyane Wade did recently by leaving the Miami Heat to play for his own hometown team, the Chicago Bulls for a two-year deal worth $47 million.

However, there is a bit of a dark side to that possibility: The Oklahoma City Thunder could very well trade Russell Westbrook to the Lakers now, according to NBA Social.

“The Thunder are reportedly willing to trade Westbrook to the Lakers if they Lakers give up D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and future picks. Most Lakers’ fans will spit on this deal, claiming that it would cost way too much.”

There are still too many questions and not enough answers when it comes to the future of Russell Westbrook in the NBA. Whether or not he will agree to a contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder or take his talents elsewhere (by will or by force) is yet to be seen. June 30, 2017 – the deadline for Russell Westbrook signing a contract extension with the Thunder – will be here sooner than most people realize.

[Photo by Ben Margot/AP Images]