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Westbrook, Thunder Reportedly Agree to Extension
Wednesday, Aug. 3
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported Westbrook agreed in principle to a contract extension and that the point guard is expected to sign the deal on Thursday.
Westbrook's agent and the Thunder were "engaged in serious talks" to reach an agreement on a contract extension that would keep him in Oklahoma City through the 2017-18 season with a player option for 2018-19, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical earlier in the day.
Westbrook's Future with Thunder Remains in Question
Monday, July 25
Westbrook is interested in playing out the final year of his current contract for the Thunder this season, according to ESPN.com's Royce Young. "There's a growing belief Westbrook will think heavily about an extension but will first weigh every angle before doing it," wrote Young.
Wojnarowski, citing league sources, reported July 19 that Westbrook and his agent "have been in regular contact with Thunder general manager Sam Presti since Durant's departure on July 4, but Westbrook has yet to make a commitment to renegotiate his contract and forgo free agency in 2017."
On July 18, Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman reported, "Westbrook has given the Thunder no indication that he currently wants out. To the contrary, one source described him as ticked off about the [Durant] departure, determined for this new challenge and eager for the season to start: 'He's ready.'"
David Aldridge of Turner Sports reported July 4 he was "told emphatically" by a league source that "there's no chance [Westbrook] will do a renegotiation/extension of his contract."
Earlier, ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported the Thunder were hoping to engage Westbrook in talks to "renegotiate and extend" his contract. That would allow Oklahoma City to add more money to his existing contract—up to $8 million for this season—while ensuring he will not leave next summer.
If Westbrook is unwilling to renegotiate, as Aldridge said, multiple league executives told Windhorst they believe the Thunder may listen to trade offers for the floor general.
Thunder Not Including Westbrook in Trade Talks
Tuesday, July 19
Wojnarowski reported that "teams that have reached out to the Thunder about trading for Westbrook have been told that he isn't available," citing league sources.
When asked about the Thunder potentially trading Westbrook, Wojnarowski told Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd, via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, on July 8, "I know this: They will not, in the short term here, be putting him out in trade talks."
Westbrook Linked to Celtics
Saturday, July 16
"In terms of other players in which the [Boston Celtics] are rumored to have interest, there have still been no recent talks regarding Blake Griffin or...Westbrook," according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
Beck: GMs Think Thunder Will Trade Westbrook
Wednesday, July 13
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report weighed in on Westbrook's future in Oklahoma City, with the organization trying to figure out its next step after Durant's departure, which could include trading the star point guard:
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Westbrook Crucial to Thunder's Hopes
From a practical standpoint, Westbrook was under no incentive to sign an extension. The Thunder could not offer more than three extra years under the league's collective bargaining agreement. If he waited a year and wanted to stay in Oklahoma City, the Thunder could offer a five-year maximum contract.
What's more, Westbrook would be reducing his financial windfall by negotiating under the 2016-17 cap. The NBA's salary cap, set for $94.143 million for next season, is projected to be $107 million in 2017-18. A four-year max for Westbrook this summer would be $113.3 million, whereas it could well exceed $120 million next summer.
However, he is now the unquestioned face of the franchise, and with the spotlight on him, and his future secured in Oklahoma City, it will be interesting to see if he can keep the retooled Thunder in contention.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.