A joyous Russell Westbrook took to the podium for the 2017-18 Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day answering a wide range of questions. The first thing on everyone’s mind was the $207 million elephant in the room — when will Westbrook sign on the dotted line?
The reigning MVP cited new fatherhood responsibilities he gained over the summer as why the extension hasn’t been signed yet. He and his wife Nina Westbrook had their first child, Noah, in June.
This is a place I want to be. I love being here. -Westbrook on Oklahoma City
“It’s been a long summer,” Westbrook said when asked by The Oklahoman‘s Erik Horne. “This is a place I want to be. I love being here.”
This has been the consistent answer from Westbrook going back to his extension he signed last offseason. For the first time in his career in the post-Kevin Durant era, Westbrook was the lone hero for the Thunder. A task he took on with great success — leading the NBA in scoring, breaking triple-double records nightly and winning the MVP award.
I feel like he is going to sign the extension
-Enes Kanter at New York Media Day
Westbrook, however only cares about competing and winning championships. While last season saw Oklahoma City in the playoffs, it was apparent that without extra help, the Thunder’s championship chances were never going to be on par with the 2011-16 runs.
The additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are huge for the short term goals for Oklahoma City as well as the long term. Now the Thunder have a legitimate shot to not only challenge the Golden State Warriors but now find themselves on the short list of teams who could possibly win an NBA title. These are things Westbrook wants. These are things that make your franchise cornerstone want to stay in Thunder blue.
After a summer which saw George and Anthony — as well as Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton — added to the fold, Sam Presti even received praise from his All-Star point guard.
“He’s done an amazing job,” Westbrook said. “I’m very thankful to have someone in his position like that.”
Ultimately, the question on if Westbrook signs the extension prior to Oct. 16 will more than likely be answered on that very day. That hasn’t stopped his now former teammate Enes Kanter from sharing his opinion on the matter.
Enes Kanter dined with Russell Westbrook last week and reports that Russ loves OKC and cares about his legacy. (The $207 million also nice.)
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) September 25, 2017
“I feel like he (Westbrook) will sign his extension (prior to Oct. 16),” Kanter told the media at New York Knicks Media Day.
Training camp begins Tuesday. There appears to be no visible worry in the eyes of Presti, Westbrook or head coach Billy Donovan. The Thunder will continue to move forward with or without a Westbrook extension before Oct. 16. When you have a roster with multiple All-Stars you can afford some relaxation.
But it would sure be nice for the front office if Oct. 16 rolls around and there is more to be excited about for Thunder nation. A Westbrook signature for the world to see.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!