Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook, wants to be in Oklahoma City, but has yet to sign an extension that will guarantee that he will play for the Thunder beyond this upcoming NBA season.
One of the biggest question marks hovering over Westbrook, who has a player option after 2018, and the Thunder organization is if the triple-double machine will sign the contract extension that has been offered him at the start of the summer.
A member of the press took the opportunity to ask Westbrook about the extension. Oklahoma City is prepared to give Westbrook a 5-year $270 million contract extension to keep him in a Thunder uniform beyond the 2017-18 NBA season.
Russell explained that it has been a long summer for him and that he has yet to come to a decision regarding the offer on the table because of his new baby. Westbrook did help ease the fears of the franchise and the fans in Oklahoma when he said that “this is the place I want to be.”
“I love being here,” Westbrook said. “I’m excited about the season. I see a lot of new changes and I’m excited.”
This puts a dagger in the hearts of Lakers fans who are hoping Westbrook would come home to Los Angeles to play with Paul George, who is looking to play for his hometown team after the season. However, things don’t look so bright for the purple and gold as George recently said that he sees Oklahoma City as a place “I can call home for years.”
Of course, in the world of the NBA, nothing is set in stone. The league has seen trades rescinded and vetoed, and players having a change of heart and not honoring verbal agreements, so the possibility of Westbrook and George leaving the Thunder for other opportunities is still there until they sign new contracts with the team.
The addition of NBA All-Stars George and Carmelo Anthony in what Russell described as an “amazing” off-season may make things easier for Westbrook to come to a decision. Russell said that he is looking forward to making a great run with the two and the rest of their Thunder teammates.
Westbrook’s press conference had some light moments after a reporter got so nervous that he wasn’t able to finish his question. Some have blamed Russell for intimidating the reporter with his dagger look. Or it could be that the NBA superstar is such a huge personality that his mere presence was enough to scare the reporter away.
Westbrook became a father in May as he and his wife Nina welcomed their son Noah Russell. While he has the rest of his life to take care of his son, Westbrook only has until Oct. 16 to sign the new deal and remain with the Thunder.
[Featured Image by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]