Following reports of that both sides had agreed, Russell Westbrook officially signed a contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday (Aug. 4).
He also addressed Kevin Durant’s departure for the first time, revealing that he found out through social media. “With Kevin going, it opened up a few things for me,” he said. “For me, just being able to see the team we have, the guys we have … I felt like this is the best place for me and the best team. I love being here, and this is the place I wanted to be.”
While the team did not disclose the terms of his deal, sources say its worth $85.7 million over the next three seasons, including a player option that would allow Westbrook to become a free agent after the 2017-18 season.
The new deal bumps his salary from $17.8 million next season to the maximum $26.5 million. He would then earn the max the next two seasons if he exercises the third-year option. The player option for the third season also allows Westbrook to capitalize on the league rule, allowing players who have completed 10 seasons to earn a larger max salary.
“There’s nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” Westbrook said at a news conference announcing the deal. “You guys have basically raised me. I’ve been here since I was 18, 19 years old. You guys did nothing but great things for me. Through the good and the bad, you guys supported me through it all, and I appreciate it. Definitely when I had the opportunity to be able to be loyal to you guys, that’s the No. 1 option. Loyalty is something that I stand by.”
When asked why sign an extension now rather than wait until next season, Westbrook said: “There’s no need to wait if you know where you want to be.”