UA-59049186-1 That's So Russ - Good if it Goes

That’s So Russ

It was reported Wednesday evening the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook agreed in principal to a contract extension.

The deal was made official this morning as Westbrook agreed to stay in Oklahoma City on a 3-year, $85 million dollar deal with a player option on the 3rd year. This deal doesn’t mean he will be in OKC forever but it is a huge victory in an off season where the Thunder lost one of the best players in the league. Kevin Durant’s decision was originally thought to be so devastating for the Thunder because it meant Durant was leaving and there was potential in Westbrook leaving as well.

In an off season where Kevin Durant tucked his tail in between his legs and ran to the 73-win Golden State Warriors to team up with three other all-star players, it was so Westbrook to decide to sign an extension on a team with no other All-Star players. Durant’s decision to leave motivated Westbrook to stay. He is probably more determined than ever to prove the Thunder can win a title without Durant. So many stupid analyst and fans caped for Durant, making the point that any other player in Durant’s position would do the same. Well clearly, that’s not true.

There are still a couple of old school highly competitive superstars remaining in this league. Westbrook was in the last year of his deal. With no other star player on the team, he could have requested a trade or simply played out the last year of his deal and went to find the next stacked team. But guess what…he didn’t. So, the theory of any NBA player in Durant’s shoes would do what he did goes flying out the window. Westbrook, unlike his former nappy headed teammate, actually wants to be the man on his team. He has a hunger for winning but also wants to do it in a way that’s competitive. This off season, we saw both Westbrook and Harden agree to extensions to play on teams that do not even have one other All-Star on them while Durant took the cowards way out and ran to Steph Curry’s team.

The Warriors players are no worse because after choking in the finals, they desperately wanted Durant to come. Will Westbrook win a title in OKC? Who knows. Maybe not. I certainly have a lot more respect for him and other players like him. It’s a decision like the one Westbrook made today. Some of the old school greats like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird say they would have never left in their primes to go team up with teams they couldn’t beat. At the end of the day, Westbrook will never have quite the talent that Durant has as a near 7-footer with crazy athleticism, shooting ability and ball handling skills. There was a reason that quite a few people felt like Westbrook was still the better player between the two and there is a reason why Westbrook finished ahead of Durant in the MVP voting this year.

Even if Durant is more talented, there is no doubt Westbrook is the stronger competitor. The decisions both Durant and Westbrook made this off season go hand in hand with their on-court personality. The minute the news of this extension broke, I just sat back and thought to myself…

“That’s So Russ.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.