According to an Adrian Wojnarowski report, superstar point guard Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a six-year contract extension worth an estimated $205 million dollars. The final year of the pact is a player option, according to USA Today's Sam Amick.
The new deal will begin at the start of the 2018-19 season and will last until the end of the 2022-23 campaign; Westbrook will be 34 years old by then. When factoring in the $28.5 million the six-time All-Star is set to make this year (bringing totals up to six years and $233 million), Westbrook's new contract is the largest in NBA history. He signed it under the Designated Veteran Extension, similar to the contracts that John Wall, James Harden, and Stephen Curry signed earlier this offseason.
Cashing in at the right time
Westbrook couldn't have picked a better time to agree to such a historic deal, as he is just a season removed from his historic 2016-17 outing. Last year, he became the first man since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double throughout an entire season, made even more impressive considering the slower pace of today's game. In addition to that extraordinary feat, Westbrook led the league in assist rate, offensive box plus-minus (OBPM), and overall box plus-minus (BPM), and value over replacement player (VORP). His efforts carried an otherwise non-descript Thunder team to 47 wins and the playoffs.
There were setbacks of course; Westbrook had the ball in his hands all the time to help OKC overcome their deficiencies, leading to him finishing with the highest usage rate in league history (41.7). When he sat, the rest of the team slumped; the Thunder scored 11.5 fewer points and allowed 1.9 more points per 100 possessions when Westbrook went to the bench. That over-reliance on their best player ultimately cost them on the postseason, as they fell to the Houston Rockets in five games.
Since then, the Thunder have massively retooled, trading for two-way star Paul George and scoring machine Carmelo Anthony to decrease the burden off of their franchise player. With this extension, the OKC the burden of rebuilding from scratch if Westbrook followed former teammate Kevin Durant's lead has been lifted as well.