Russell Westbrook Contract: Oklahoma City Thunder Reportedly Sign PG To Five-Year $80 Mil Extension

The Thunder have officially committed themselves to a Durant/Westbrook core, as both All-NBA players have now been signed to max extensions.

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6 Total Updates since January 19, 2012
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Russell Westbrook And Kevin Durant Will Handcuff Thunder Financially By 2013-14

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are going to make sure the Oklahoma City Thunder are contenders for the foreseeable future for the NBA Title. The unfortunate side is that the Thunder is also going to be a very expensive team in the not-too-distant future. SB Nation's Tom Ziller says the team is up against a wall as soon as 2013-14 with other players like James Harden coming available for their own extensions.

The dilemma comes with the announced five-year extension for $80 million given to point guard Russell Westbrook today. Aside from Durant, he's definitely the team's other star, but there's an escalating cost to the NBA and Sam Presti will likely have a plan in place when Harden and company come due. Ziller says he'll need one.

"Here's the problem: with just Durant and Westbrook alone, some $33.5 million in 2013-14 salary will be locked up," writes Ziller. "Kendrick Perkins is also due more than $8 million that season, and if Harden and Ibaka each demand their own Westbrookian contracts, the Thunder will be pressing up against the luxury tax line while accounting for just five players.

"It could force the Thunder to trade Westbrook to make room for Harden and Ibaka, or be willing to let go of either Harden (unlikely) or Ibaka. Alternately, the Thunder could wade headfirst into the luxury tax pool, should owner Clay Bennett decide that building a dynasty is more important than turning a profit in a small market."

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Russell Westbrook's Extension Makes Thunder 'Too Good To Be True' For Next Few Years

The drama has played itself out, according to Sam Amick, and all egos aboard the Oklahoma City Thunder have been assuaged. Kevin Durant already had his payday and Russell Westbrook was given his today with the announced five-year $80 million extension for the star point guard. That keeps the tandem together through the 2015-16 season, when Durant’s contract will be up.

Earlier this year, there was a dramatic encounter between the two on Dec. 29 when Durant and Westbrook got into it on the bench. Durant was trying to calm his teammate and things only became more heated, leading many to wonder whether the two could co-exist. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated now says those days are behind the Thunder now and calls the situation “”http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/sam_amick/01/19/russell.westbrook/index.html" target="new">too good to be true" for Sam Presti and company.

“Westbrook could have made life harder on Presti, deciding to play this season out and potentially push for a five-year, $94 million deal like Rose was recently given so long as the he was deemed All-NBA or an All-Star for a second time. It’s part of the league’s new “Rose rule” that allows a max deal to account for 30 percent of the salary cap as opposed to 25 percent, like Westbrook’s deal.

“There is more work to be done for Presti, as the contracts of guard James Harden and forward Serge Ibaka (both signed through 2013) now move up on his list of priorities. But it all gets easier with Durant and Westbrook re-signed and on the same pay scale, and this too-good-to-be-true Thunder team that fell to Dallas in the Western Conference finals last May is in an even better place than before because of it.”

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