March 21, 2018

Russell Westbrook's mega-contract could impact his decision on future — Paul George

01 October 2017, 12:50 | Kristopher Drake

Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams, Andre Roberson should benefit from superstar trio

Two Superstars, Two Blockbuster Deals

Now, with Westbrook locked up, the Thunder's long-term outlook is in a much more stable position.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook has signed a contract extension that ESPN reported is worth $205 million over five years.

When asked if Westbrook's extension would impact his decision to stay with the Thunder beyond the 2017-18 season, Paul George said, "Absolutely".

The implications of Westbrook's new deal go beyond the numbers. "His commitment and work ethic and I think his character, those things combine to make a unique personality and person that allows him to be different".

According to Wojnarowski, this is now the largest contract in National Basketball Association history. That wasn't on the Thunder's radar, anyway, in this all-in season. George said he wasn't surprised Westbrook committed early. He's expected to enter free agency in the summer.

Westbrook is coming off an MVP season during which he carried his entire team.

Trading for George and Anthony made it clear the Thunder isn't worrying about the luxury tax ramifications.

The salary cap might not keep pace with the annual raises in Westbrook's contract, which will be set at 8 percent of his 2018-19 salary - now estimated at $2.65 million.

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On average, these players contributed 12.8 wins above replacement player (WARP) at the same age as Westbrook will be in the first season of his extension.

The Thunder's projected luxury tax bill this year after acquiring Anthony: almost $27.8 million.

Westbrook is one of the biggest stars now in the National Basketball Association. That ranks among the top four teams in the league.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti confirmed the news in a press release on Friday.

Anthony was perceived as a player who wouldn't want to play in Oklahoma City. "A summer like this or opportunities like this really are only ideas and opportunities unless we're given the opportunity and the support to execute on those, and I just can't say enough about the group as a whole and what a pleasure it is to work with them".

Anthony is highly respected around the league. With Westbrook in place, a successful season could help the team retain one of Anthony and George, if not both.

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