The short-term deal created flexibility for Oklahoma City to add parts - hence the moves to land George and Anthony - in hopes of enticing Westbrook to remain with the franchise. To have him cement his legacy as a leader as we enter into our 10th season in Oklahoma City is extraordinary. After losing Kevin Durant to free agency previous year with nothing in exchange, it is obvious that Sam Presti and company don't want to make a similar mistake with Westbrook.
Westbrook, the reigning NBA MVP, signed the extension after the Thunder acquired All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony during the offseason, wihch established the team as a contender in the NBA's Western Conference.
"Westbrook will sign for the Designated Player Veteran Extension". It will be the most lucrative contract in National Basketball Association history. This is the biggest day in the ten year history of Thunder basketball. The star guard and six-time All-Star averaged a triple-double on the year to the tune of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. Pictured: Westbrook reacts after scoring against the Houston Rockets in the 2017 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2017 in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder didn't exactly have an alternative, though.
Of course, they still have their work cut out for them - the Golden State Warriors still exist and will still be the prohibitive National Basketball Association title favorites this season.
As CBSSports.com's Matt Moore wrote in April, Presti built a good roster that was centered around two of the five best players in the league. Amid the Thunder's despair in losing Durant, Westbrook's shorter-term commitment gave Presti and assistant GM Troy Weaver the ability to pursue the trades with in and NY to acquire George and Anthony, respectively.