Fans in Oklahoma City are breathing a huge sigh of relief on Friday after reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook signed a contract extension with the Thunder.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Westbrook's new deal with the Thunder is for five years and $205 million, and it will begin with the 2018-19 season.
Wojnarowski noted that Westbrook's guaranteed money over the next six years is now the most lucrative deal in NBA history:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Westbrook has the biggest total contract in NBA history -- six years, $233M. Westbrook agent Thad Foucher and GM Sam Presti finalized today.2017-9-29 19:17:56
Just in case anyone was wondering how financially healthy the NBA is right now, ESPN Stats & Info offered this tidbit about player contracts:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The five largest contracts in NBA history have been signed this offseason. https://t.co/2867RrOjFP https://t.co/0Rpu4tMCPm2017-9-29 19:34:45
The internet had a lot to say about the point guard's contract, with plenty of humor to be found.
One ironic tidbit pointed out by B/R is Westbrook just happened to sign his new contract on Kevin Durant's birthday:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Reminder: today is KD's birthday. https://t.co/p3NeruoBqF2017-9-29 19:29:38
Westbrook will likely be celebrating this momentous occasion with a cupcake or two.
CJ Fogler provided a GIF of Westbrook's possible reaction upon being offered $205 million:
CJ Fogler @cjzero
"Russ, did you ever think about turning down $205 million?" Russ: https://t.co/KrSp1K3byS2017-9-29 19:31:19
ESPN's Royce Young threw some love at Thunder general manager Sam Presti for the work he's done this offseason:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Sam Presti just officially put a bow on one of the greatest summers ever in league history for an executive.2017-9-29 19:35:17
Since the Thunder were eliminated from the postseason in April, Presti has acquired Paul George from the Indiana Pacers and Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks and got his best player to make a long-term commitment to the franchise.
Westbrook earned a hearty congratulations from Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who will be eligible for his own max contract next summer:
LeBron James @KingJames
Congrats to my G @russwest44 on that bag!!! OKC got a great one!!(like they don't already know)🤷🏾♂️ #WhyNot2017-9-29 20:01:22
Since the inevitable comparisons to Westbrook's deal and what NFL players make will come up, Eric Galko of the Sporting News provided this bit of information:
Eric Galko @OptimumScouting
Russell Westbrook just got more guaranteed money ($205 million) than the NFL’s 3 Highest Contract Guarantees COMBINED (Stafford,Suh,Manning) https://t.co/KRVZsLGUiM2017-9-29 19:28:40
ESPN's Marc J. Spears noted Westbrook's decision could have some potential impact on what George wants to do when he hits free agency next summer:
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
Home is home, but Russell being locked in for 5 additional years with Melo likely on board next season makes saying goodbye tougher for PG.2017-9-29 19:34:03
The Los Angeles Lakers, who have been connected to George dating back to last season, have put their future hopes in the hands of talented but unproven young players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.
The Thunder have the ability to entice George to stay by giving him the opportunity to play with Westbrook and Anthony, though the results from the 2017-18 season will likely play an integral role in determining what happens next summer.
Here's what else social media had to say about Westbrook staying in Oklahoma City with a brand new contract:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
$350M: What team that became the OKC Thunder was purchased for in 2006. $233M: What Russell Westbrook is owed over the next six seasons.2017-9-29 19:42:46
sam presti hand delivering russ's extension to the league office https://t.co/6L3uWFEBXb2017-9-29 19:28:06
Bruce Arthur @bruce_arthur
If Westbrook waited until Durant's birthday to sign his extension with OKC the only thing better would be skywriting it over KD's house2017-9-29 19:56:50
Mick Cornett @MickCornett
High profile millennial chooses OKC as home thru 2024. https://t.co/2evdyypcI52017-9-29 19:42:07
The road to the NBA Finals in the Western Conference still goes through Durant and the Golden State Warriors.
The Thunder have done everything in their power to try closing the gap as much as one team can in a single offseason. Westbrook's commitment erases one question for the franchise heading into the 2017-18 season.
Now, Oklahoma City's full attention will be on trying to catch the Warriors. Westbrook will be at the center of the Thunder's quest this year, and for many years to come.