NBA superstar and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook has signed a five-year contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder totalling $205 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no place I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” Westbrook said in an official team press release. “I am so honored to have the opportunity to continue my career here with the Thunder.”
The Thunder are the only franchise for whom Westbrook, 28, has played over his nine NBA seasons.
Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists last season on his way to breaking Oscar Robertson’s single-season triple-double total.
Westbrook also shot a career-high 34.3 percent from three-point range in 2016-2017.
The Thunder traded for Paul George this offseason in what was viewed as an aggressive attempt to surround Westbrook with all-star calibre teammates. Westbrook’s likelihood of re-signing had seemed tied to the team’s ability to compete for an NBA championship, which took a hit when former league MVP Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to sign with the Golden State Warrior.
The Warriors won the 2016-2017 NBA title. The Thunder lost to the Houston Rockets four games to one in the Western Conference playoffs.
Westbrook was the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft out of UCLA. He attended school in Lawndale, California. Westbrook’s southern-California roots led to speculation for years that he could be interested in leaving the Thunder and moving.
Soon after Durant announced his departure from Oklahoma City, Westbrook signed a contract through the 2017-2018 season with a $30 million player option for the 2018-2019 season.
Steven Adams is the Thunder’s second-highest-paid player, making $22.4 million per year. George is signed at $19.3 million for the 2017-2018 season — which opens Oct. 19 with a visit from the New York Knicks — and has a player option worth $20.5 million that he is likely to decline in order to seek more money on the open market.
The Thunder traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to obtain George, the star of the Indiana Pacers for several years.
In the 2017 NBA draft, the Thunder selected Terrance Ferguson, who was not allowed to play in the NBA summer league owing to international rules and regulations.
The Thunder acquired Carmelo Anthony last week.