Thunder Reportedly Remain Optimistic Russell Westbrook Will Sign Contract

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2017

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) roars to the crowd before Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Russell Westbrook has a chance to be a free agent after next season, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to work hard to ensure he doesn't leave town. 

According to Royce Young of ESPN.com, "optimism remains high" that the team will sign the reigning MVP to a new extension.

The Thunder added perennial All-Star Paul George already this offseason, but he explained Wednesday that his plans for his free agency remain up in the air.

"I'm not looking past 2017-2018," George said, per Carson Cunningham of KOCO-TV. "Me and Russ have something to build now. It could be something we want to continue building."

Both George and Westbrook have player options after the 2017-18 season that could either keep them in Oklahoma City or allow them to explore free agency. Per Basketball Reference, George could make over $20 million next year while Westbrook could make over $30 million.

Still, there is a lot of money that could be made on a new contract. As Danny Leroux of Sporting News noted, Westbrook could make $235 million in a new extension with the Thunder.

The 28-year-old point guard signed his latest extension shortly after Kevin Durant bolted to the Golden State Warriors. "There's nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City," he said at the time, per ESPN.

It will now be up to Westbrook to live up to this statement with a new long-term deal.