Report: Russell Westbrook ‘Ready’ to Lead Thunder, ‘Ticked Off’ Kevin Durant Left

Bradley Whitaker
(Photo: Getty)

There is no easy decision for Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti on what to do with Russell Westbrook.

OKC obviously suffered a huge setback with the departure of Kevin Durant. But now their other superstar has just one year left on his contract and has no intention on signing an extension, according to Kevin O’Connor of CelticsBlog.

“OKC is still trying to get Russell Westbrook to sign a contract extension,” the source explained, “which he won't do because extensions at this time aren't in a player's best interest anymore. He won't do it.”

Sure, Westbrook could take in a huge chunk of change because the salary cap jumped from $70 million to $94 million this offseason. But next year, it's projected to balloon all the way up to $102 million. Why sign an extension when you make even more in a year? It’s not like his value is going to drop significantly, barring a career-ending injury.

Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman reports that Russ has given “no indication” of leaving the Thunder, and he’s even a bit infuriated after KD left.

Westbrook has given the Thunder no indication that he currently wants out. To the contrary, one source described him as ticked off about the Kevin Durant departure, determined for this new challenge and eager for the season to start: “He's ready.”

Of course, Westbrook’s best course of action is staying put for a year, at least from a financial standpoint. But a lot is out of his control this upcoming season, unless he chooses to sign an extension. Presti could trade him at any time.

That being said, with the exception of the Boston Celtics and their young guards and draft picks, there aren’t really any teams with the assets to trade for Westbrook, at least without giving up a superstar in return. Even the C’s might pass up if Russ isn’t willing to do a sign-and-trade deal. Nobody wants to lose him after one year. But for the Thunder, making a pitch next summer might be the only realistic option.

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