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Report: Russell Westbrook’s agent, Thunder in ‘serious talks’ on contract extension

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Four

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 24: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 24, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

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The Thunder reportedly want to extend Russell Westbrook’s contract and then sign Blake Griffin.

They’re closing in on step one of their post-Kevin Durant plan.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, the agent for Oklahoma City superstar Russell Westbrook, is engaged in serious talks with the Thunder on a contract renegotiation that could secure Westbrook through the 2018-19 season in Oklahoma City, league sources told The Vertical.

No deal has been finalized for the five-time All-Star guard, but there’s momentum toward a three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation agreement, league sources told The Vertical.

The proposed deal would include a player option on the third year, which would clear the way for Westbrook to return to free agency in 2018.

Because they have enough cap space, the Thunder can renegotiate Westbrook’s 2016-17 salary from $17,769,374 to his max of $26,540,100. In exchange, they’ll want something in return – him delaying free agency. This could work out for both sides.

With a max renegotiation-and-extension, Westbrook would earn:

  • 2016-17: $26,540,100
  • 2017-18: $28,530,608
  • 2018-19: $30,670,403 (player option)
  • Total: $85,741,111

A key number: Westbrook’s raises. If he gets 7.5% (as reflected above), the Thunder can’t trade him for six months. If he gets 4.5% or less, they could trade him immediately.

Westbrook would be delaying free agency only one year. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Oklahoma City to leverage this extension into a better trade return if it fears losing Westbrook in a year. Considering the team’s likely decline without Durant, it’s certainly possible Westbrook would still bolt in 2018.

He’ll be a 10-year veteran then and, based on the last few Collective Bargaining Agreements, eligible for a higher max salary. This could be as much about money as loyalty for Westbrook.

Likewise, it could be as much about trade leverage as devotion to Westbrook for the Thunder.