Russell Westbrook is staying with the Thunder. The superstar point guard and reigning NBA MVP has signed a contract extension to remain in Oklahoma City, the team announced Friday.
ESPN first reported the agreement and said it would be for five years and worth $205 million.
Westbrook made an Instagram post Friday afternoon, a photo of him yelling at Chesapeake Energy Arena with his arms raised in the air. His words of choice to go with the photo are the words he lives by and the name of his charitable foundation: “WHY NOT??”
Westbrook said this week that Oklahoma City is where he wanted to be. He said he was thrilled with the offseason additions of four-time All-Star Paul George and 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Both have player options on their deals after this season.
“I love being here,” he said. “I’m excited about the season. Obviously, with a lot of new changes, and I’m excited.”
Thunder owner Clay Bennett values Westbrook’s importance to Oklahoma City on and off the court.
“We recognize and deeply appreciate Russell’s rare and unique abilities as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also understand his presence and impact on our community will be felt for decades to come,” Bennett said. “On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, our ownership group and all of Oklahoma, I want to express my deepest appreciation to Russell, and I know that the very best days for the Thunder are yet to come.”
Westbrook averaged a triple-double last season and was the league scoring champion. He averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists and broke Oscar Robertson’s single-season record for triple-doubles with 42.
His success increased anxiety for Thunder fans who feared he might leave, as Kevin Durant did during the summer of 2016 when he chose to join the Golden State Warriors. Westbrook signed the extension on Durant’s 29th birthday.
Westbrook said he hadn’t signed because of other obligations.
“I’ve been at home,” he said. “I’ve been traveling. Just trying to get my family together, honestly. You know, having a new son can be a little difficult, you know what I mean? I’ve been trying to help my wife, help my family and enjoying and embracing that moment as much as I can because I know during the season, I’m going to be traveling and moving around.”
In other NBA news:
-- LeBron James missed his second consecutive practice because of a sprained left ankle, an injury that happened on Dwyane Wade’s first day with the Cavaliers. James was at the team’s Cleveland Clinic Courts facility getting treatment Friday, and could be seen in the training and fitness area. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said the superstar is day to day, but the team has not said much else about James’ injury. The three-time NBA champion rolled his ankle on Wednesday night, shortly after his good friend Wade turned down other offers to sign a one-year, $2.3 million contract with Cleveland. It’s not known how James hurt his ankle. The team said X-rays were negative.
-- After saying he needed to be more of a leader on a rebuilding team, Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges Friday for a fight outside a late-night restaurant. Brookhaven police reported that Schroder and three other men were charged in the altercation, which occurred around 2 a.m. Friday at the 6am restaurant. The fight had broken up when police arrived, but a review of video from the scene led to the charges. According to a police report, the video showed a total of seven people, including alleged victim Joey Hall and a security office, involved in “what appeared to be a verbal heated exchange.”
4:10 p.m.: This article has been updated with more details about Russell Westbrook’s extension as well as other news from around the NBA.
This article was originally published at 1:35 p.m.