According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Russell Westbrook has signed a new five-year, $80 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal helps solidify the foundation of a young team that should make major waves in the postseason for years to come.
Westbrook's deal puts into place a firm foundation from which the Thunder can build, adding to Kevin Durant's five-year, $90 million contract that keeps him in Oklahoma City until the 2015-16 season.
Kendrick Perkins, who was acquired last season from the Boston Celtics, has a contract that extends through the 2014-15 season, while the other key players on the team, namely Serge Ibaka and James Harden, have contracts that last through the 2013-14 season (both players are open to the Larry Bird exception in the final year of their contracts).
Westbrook is averaging 20.5 points, five rebounds, 1.73 steals, and 5.5 assists per game this year. Though his assist average has declined substantially from the past two season (8.0 and 8.2 per game), his rebounding and field goal percentage (45.2 percent) are the highest of his career.
One could speculate that those assist numbers will increase now that a firm contract is in place, but regardless, he is one of the top point guards in the league and the Thunder must be relieved to have signed this extension to keep their young one-two punch of Durant and Westbrook intact.
The Thunder are currently sitting in first place in the Northwest Division at 12-3, and with the questions regarding Westbrook's future with the team wiped off the table they can now focus on their continued rise through the NBA hierarchy.