Russell Westbrook signs five-year, $205 million extension with OKC Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day

September 29 is the day that Russell Westbrook signed the richest contract in NBA history.

It’s also Kevin Durant’s birthday.

Is that a coincidence? Probably not.

After weeks of scaring the entire Oklahoma City Thunder fanbase, Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension on Friday, making his decision in advance of the October 16 deadline.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out, the reigning NBA MVP now has the biggest total contract in league history.

Right after the news broke, the Thunder announced the extension via Twitter. It seems as though Westbrook, who preached loyalty and has held an obvious grudge against Durant since he left for the Golden State Warriors, is backing up his words.

Westbrook’s Instagram post read “WHY NOT??”.

Earlier in the week, Westbrook made it known that he wanted to stay in OKC. "I love being here," he told reporters. "I'm excited about the season. Obviously, with a lot of new changes, and I'm excited.”

Thunder owner Clay Bennett explained how special of a player and leader Westbrook is after he signed on the dotted line.

"We recognize and deeply appreciate Russell's rare and unique abilities as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also understand his presence and impact on our community will be felt for decades to come," Bennett said. "On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, our ownership group and all of Oklahoma, I want to express my deepest appreciation to Russell, and I know that the very best days for the Thunder are yet to come."

General manager Sam Presti can also breathe a sigh of relief.

"Russell's commitment to the Thunder organization since its inception in 2008 has helped propel us to great heights and stare down great challenges over our first decade," Presti stated. "We are extremely fortunate to have an athlete, competitor and person such as Russell wear the Thunder uniform."

So, why did Westbrook take so long to sign the deal? He had an answer.

"I've been at home," he explained. "I've been traveling. Just trying to get my family together, honestly. You know, having a new son can be a little difficult, you know what I mean? I've been trying to help my wife, help my family and enjoying and embracing that moment as much as I can because I know during the season, I'm going to be traveling and moving around.”

He didn't mention KD’s birthday, leaving that up to everyone's imagination.

With Westbrook in OKC through the 2022-2023 season, the Thunder are poised to make some noise in the packed Western Conference starting with a new-look squad this season. While Carmelo Anthony and Paul George might be short-term solutions, inking Westbrook to a long-term extension should make Thunder fans, the entire organization and general NBA fans very excited. 

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