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“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no place I’d rather be than Oklahoma City.”
Those words, the opening sentence of Russell Westbrook’s announcement subsequent to marking a 5-year, $205 million expansion with the Oklahoma City Thunder, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, gave OKC fans a surprising motivation to celebrate on a September Friday night.
The augmentation kicks in after the 2017-18 season, which means Westbrook made a six-year sense of duty regarding the group that drafted him in 2008. Consider that. Westbrook—the Los Angeles local, the mold symbol, the class MVP, the player many expected would get away from the city as quickly as time permits—simply marked two contract expansions in under 14 months to stay in Oklahoma City. At a terrific aggregate of six seasons and $233 million, it turns into the wealthiest contract at any point gave to a NBA player.
Looking back, this shouldn’t be an astonishment by any means. Westbrook has never faltered when gotten some information about his sense of duty regarding OKC. “I cherish it here,” the Thunder star said before in the week at media day. “I like where I’m at, and I like where our group is at.”
It wasn’t vastly different from his season-finishing remarks in April. “Everyone realizes that I like Oklahoma City and I cherish being here and I adore everyone here. In any case, I haven’t contemplated that. Clearly, Oklahoma City is a place that I need to be.”
“There is no place else I’d preferably be than Oklahoma City. You all have fundamentally raised me,” Westbrook said when he marked a three-year, $85 million expansion last August. He included that unwaveringness was “something he remained by.”
It’s reasonable if fans ignored such words as empty after the flight of Kevin Durant to Golden State. There’s no explanation behind incredulity any longer. In Westbrook, the Thunder have discovered their Tim Duncan. Their Dirk Nowitzki. Their Kobe Bryant. Their—challenge I say—Nick Collison. They have a player who stayed focused on the city and the association through various challenges, through progress and disappointment.
Customary way of thinking said Westbrook would play out the season with newcomers Paul George and Carmelo Anthony before settling on his future. As one of the NBA’s actual hotshots, he employed the sort of energy LeBron James has. He could have held up until the point when the mid year of 2018 and wanted to sign a progression of here and now manages his parachute prepared to convey. What’s more, in the wake of watching two star players leave the 46th state in the previous five years, he likely would have been given a go, generally.
In any case, none of that was what Westbrook needed.
It’s likewise pivotal to say that the unwaveringness here isn’t uneven. Trust it or not, the arrangement accompanies vulnerability for Oklahoma City. It’s conceivable that a 34-year-old Westbrook could gain over $46 million out of 2022. There are honest to goodness worries about to what extent his otherworldly dangerousness can hold up, and in the event that he never turns into a high-productivity scorer, the Thunder might be screwed over thanks to an intense to-exchange shell of Brodie’s previous self.
There’s additionally the hazard that, in spite of re-marking Westbrook, both George Anthony still leave in free organization next summer. By then, OKC, now bolted into the alliance’s wealthiest contract, rejoins the limbo that is neglecting to contend with the NBA’s more elite class while never nearing a best three pick.
The option, obviously, was not having one of the Association’s 1-percenters. That wasn’t an alternative in the psyche of Sam Presti and whatever remains of the Thunder staff.
In the present day and period of stars escaping, Westbrook and the Thunder are making their own particular win-now fate. They’re not shying far from procuring the assistance they require yet there’s a level of shared assume that they can at last complete it together. Normally, consideration will now move to George and Anthony with respect to their fates. It’s difficult to know more since the trio hasn’t played a solitary preseason amusement together, however there’s one factor to remember: funds.
Oklahoma City is poised to pay around $30 million in extravagance impose this season. It would trip the feared repeater charge next season, and as verified by Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Thunder could ring up finished $140 million in impose alone on the off chance that they re-marked George, brought back Anthony and furthermore rounded out whatever is left of the program. All that stated, Oklahoma City’s fantastic arrangement going back to 2012 was to spend huge while Durant and Westbrook were in their primes. With another Big Three set up, the Thunder are essentially back on track.
It’s a cost of business not all establishments will go up against, but rather OKC is precisely where it needs to be—which is fitting since, as of Friday, Westbrook has influenced it to clear it’s precisely where he needs to be too.