The Oklahoma City Thunder are in first place in the NBA's Western Conference with a 12-2 record and they partially have point guard Russell Westbrook to thank. Westbrook is 11th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game, and combined with Kevin Durant, he's one of the main reasons that Oklahoma City are the fifth highest scoring team in the league.
Oklahoma City is looking to sign Westbrook, on of the league's premier point guards to an extension, but they may have a tough time doing so, thanks to the Derrick Rose Rule, which allows players who are finishing up their rookie contracts to make 30 percent of the team's salary cap.
The Thunder want to preserve salary-cap space to re-sign James Harden and Serge Ibaka. With the new "Derrick Rose rule," Westbrook could be eligible for 30 percent of the Thunder’s cap starting next year – a five-year, $94 million extension – if he’s selected to another All-NBA team. Oklahoma City wants to sign him for the smaller five-year, $80 million extension, because it doesn’t think it can keep the team’s core together with Durant and Westbrook gobbling 60 percent of the franchise’s small-market payroll.
The Thunder have eight more days until the Jan. 25 deadline to sign Westbrook to a contract extension, but according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, a source close to the talks believes "both sides are dug in right now."
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