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Russell Westbrook: New contract with Oklahoma City Thunder is an $85 Million Gamble

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The Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook have agreed to a three-year $85M deal to keep the All-Star PG home, but is this the best option for both parties?

The deal will include a player option for the third year meaning Westbrook could hit the free agent market again in 2018 but by that time it may be too late. As it stands now, OKC is Kevin Durant short of winning an NBA title, but he left to play for the Golden State Warriors last month, leaving Westbrook to fend for himself and with the new contract that’s pretty much how it will be for two more years.

It’s not a knock on his supporting cast but, can you wager $85 million on Steve Adams, Enes Kanter, and Victor Oladipo? If he, Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka couldn’t get it done what makes one think the current roster will be able to pull it off? They might go on a historic 2014 Houston Rockets run and make it to the Western Conference Finals due to lucky breaks but why is Westbrook willing to bet two more years of his NBA career on a prayer?

We’re so used to players taking the easy way out that it seems logical that he will do the same, but Kobe Bryant said something that made me think the deal would be signed. He said Westbrook reminds him of himself (Kobe), I get Kobe was talking his style of fearless play, but maybe Kobe meant more than his basketball skills. Kobe stayed with one team his whole career; he flirted with leaving, but his heart was always in Los Angeles. In an era of super teams, and watching as his teammate leave to join one maybe Westbrook wanted to buck the trend and show that loyalty still exists in sports.

With the deal signed he will get praise from his peers for doing something only a few have stuck it out. He may have a deep love for Oklahoma City and would hate to see them hurt by losing three superstars in a 4-year span. As a Westbrook supporter I am pleased with the news, now it’s time for that MVP run.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com