No news is not good news when it comes to Russell Westbrook signing a super max contract with the Thunder, and with the LeBron to the Lakers speculation stronger than ever the possibility that Westbrook could go home to Los Angeles in 2018 looms.
Westbrook addressed his contract status on NBA media day Monday and gave the extremely lame excuse that he didn’t really have time to sign this summer because he became a dad (there are plenty of dads in the NBA if you're not aware).
“Man, it’s been a long, long summer,” Westbrook said. “I had a baby. So I’ve been working on a little fatherhood. But like I said before man, this is the place I want to be. I love being here. I’m excited about the season, obviously a lot of new changes. I’m excited. From that, I’ll leave it there.”
Russell Westbrook doesn't answer question about whether he'll sin five-year, $207 million extension before Oct. 16 deadline pic.twitter.com/kDrQZ5DytI— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) September 25, 2017
The deadline for Westbrook to sign the super max contract, which would make him the highest paid player in the NBA, is Oct. 16. If Westbrook and his camp were intent on signing, this would already be a done deal as there isn’t any more money he can get from the Thunder. As of now, the odds are that Westbrook will play this season out with the Thunder and enter NBA free agency in 2018 – along with teammates Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Of course, a lot could change between now and next July. The new-look Thunder could very well gel and Westbrook, George and Anthony could all decide that their futures should all be in Oklahoma City.
But if LeBron does decide to go to Los Angeles next summer, Westbrook, George and Anthony will all be strong candidates to join him there. George has long said that he wants to join the Lakers, Anthony is extremely tight with LeBron, and Westbrook is a Los Angeles native. The Lakers are truly the only threat in the NBA to steal Westbrook from Oklahoma City, and all indications are that Lakers bosses Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are going all-in on next summer.
Here is what ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said about Westbrook’s contract situation two weeks ago – before the Carmelo trade and before NBA media day.
“There’s this gigantic elephant in the room, which is that – Paul George is from LA, Russell Westbrook’s from LA, they’re going to be playing together – if they’re going to stay together they can just come to the Lakers … the what-ifs, the dominoes that start falling if he does not sign that contract extension by the start of the regular season … If he hasn’t signed that extension by media day next week – this now becomes the topic of conversation in the entire league because we’ve already seen three major stars get traded,” Shelburne said. “You’ve seen everybody get traded this summer. I don’t even know where to begin a conversation about teams that would call about Russell Westbrook, or even if the Thunder would entertain it.”
So, NBA media day has passed and Westbrook’s extension has become the topic of conversation surrounding the Thunder, even with Carmelo in the mix.