Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are finalizing an extension that would keep the guard with the only NBA team he's ever known until at least the summer of 2018, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical. Wojnarowski reports the two sides are closing in on a "three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation agreement," with the final year being a player option.
Westbrook was an oft-speculated trade target of the Lakers following Kevin Durant's departure from Oklahoma City, but this extension would seem to firmly put a pin in any such talks (at least for now). The Lakers also almost certainly would have made a push for the Los Angeles native next summer in free agency, but it appears they will have to delay their pitch for at least another year.
Some might see this extension as the latest thundercloud to hit the Lakers, but there may be some silver linings. Westbrook very well could be committed to staying in Oklahoma City long-term, but if he’s not, the Lakers will be able to make a more compelling case to him in 2018, with the benefit of two years for their young core to grow together rather than the one they would have had if Westbrook was a free agent this summer.
Either way though, it doesn’t look like Westbrook is coming to the Lakers anytime soon, so it’s probably best to settle in an prepare to watch the continued progress of the rebuild rather than hoping for fireworks and quick fixes.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.