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Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook has agreed to a three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation, league sources told The Vertical.
Westbrook, a five-time All-Star, and his agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, are planning to fly to Oklahoma City on Thursday morning, sign the deal and likely hold a news conference with Thunder ownership and executives, league sources told The Vertical.
For the Thunder, the Westbrook commitment is a significant statement in the wake of star Kevin Durant’s departure for the Golden State Warriors. Westbrook is no longer a free agent in the summer of 2017, and Thunder GM Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan have a longer window to continue improving the Thunder roster around Westbrook without the fear of losing him in free agency.
Westbrook will be under contract for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons and will hold a player option for the 2018-19 season, league sources said.
In the most likely scenario, Westbrook will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018 again.
In the structure of the renegotiation, Westbrook’s salary in 2016-17 increases from $17.8 million to a $26.5 million max salary, $28.5 million in 2017-18, and includes a player option for $30.6 million in the third year.
Oklahoma City is able to offer the extension because it has the appropriate salary cap space available.
In the wake of Durant’s departure, Westbrook new deal could be instrumental in recruiting another elite free agent to the Thunder’s talented core next summer. Oklahoma native Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers will be a serious target for the Thunder, league sources told The Vertical.
Westbrook is already fond of the returning core of talent in Oklahoma City, including center Steven Adams, guard Victor Oladipo and center Enes Kanter. Westbrook has been working out for the past several days in Los Angeles with Oladipo, with Billy Donovan in the gymnasium, league sources said.