Russell Westbrook has been all about LOYALTY to Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization. Sam Presti drafted Russell Westbrook back in 2008 and has done everything in his power to make sure Russell Westbrook knows that he believes in him. The Thunder lost Kevin Durant last season in free agency to the Golden State Warriors and that left Russell Westbrook in a position to let OKC know where he stands. Russell Westbrook responded by signing a short-term extension for 3-years/$85 million so that he can give OKC a chance to rebuild the roster and see how Presti responds in this year’s free agency. So Russell Westbrook played his heart out last season and won league MVP while averaging a triple-double. This is the first time in awhile he has exited out the playoffs in the first round and everyone noticed he needed help.
Sam Presti just like everyone in Oklahoma City noticed that Russell Westbrook gave his all during the 2016-2017 season and wanted to do anything to reward their MVP. This offseason Sam Presti set out to make a statement and he definitely did that in a huge way. OKC needed to do anything that they could do to get Russell Westbrook and it happened in the beginning of July. Sam Presti was able to get Paul George from the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. This was highway robbery that Presti got away with getting an All-Star like Paul George for two young players that still have a lot to prove. Now Paul George has landed in OKC right in front of the Thunder fans at the airport and has embraced the moment. OKC embraced Paul George and let him know how much it meant to them as they held a “PG-13 Welcome Party” with his family in attendance. This was huge for the Thunder to get Paul George to complement Russell Westbrook because now they showed Russ that they are willing to go out their way as an organization that they have his back. This was the first step that Sam Presti was able to take in the offseason to show Russell Westbrook that OKC is where he needs to be for his career.
Everyone in OKC was panicking after Russell Westbrook didn’t sign his extension right after the addition of Paul George. Fans should realize that Russell Westbrook has been extremely busy this off season. This is his first offseason spending time as a father, and between his book, fashion line and television appearances he’s been swamped. Russell Westbrook started diving into the business side of things this offseason early September when he signed his 10-year extension with Jordan Brand. This will make him the face of Jordan Brand until the Air Jordan 42 comes out. With that deal going down people expect for Russell Westbrook to get a signature performance sneaker but he has yet to fill us in on that. What we do know is that Russell Westbrook has guaranteed Jordan Brand that he will be in their gear/sneakers for the rest of his career in the NBA.
Below are some great moments between Russell Westbrook & Jordan Brand over the years…..
With Russ signing the extension with Jordan Brand people were getting anxious and wanting him to sign in OKC long term. Russell Westbrook has been busy but at the same time, his silence was letting the Thunder know that he’s not ready to sign yet. Russell isn’t one of those athletes that will talk in public about the organization or the GM. A lot of players talk about how they want more players and more talent but Russ let Sam Presti handle that and kept going about his business. Adding Paul George to the Thunder helped big time and if the opportunity presented itself to bring in another star PG-13 and Russell Westbrook would try to recruit. This summer Russ and PG-13 were able to work out with many players and one of those players was Carmelo Anthony aka “Hoodie Melo”. The Thunder players were working out and looking extremely good in the Cali pickup games.
PG and Russ kept running into Carmelo Anthony and were able to talk him into waiving his no-trade clause for the OKC Thunder. As soon as Carmelo opened his options to OKC, Cleveland, and Houston the Thunder were on the phone. Carmelo Anthony was able to workout with Russell Westbrook this offseason but over the years the Jordan Brand mate has always talked about his respect for “The Brodie”. The Thunder were able to pull off the unthinkable on September 23rd in the morning when it was announced that OKC had traded for Carmelo. OKC traded Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a future 2nd round pick for Carmelo Anthony. This was another steal made by Sam Presti in the same offseason. Last offseason the Thunder lost KD and the next offseason added Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to join the reigning MVP.
Adding Paul George and Carmelo Anthony was exactly what the doctor ordered for Russell Westbrook. Having those two all-stars on the same team with him will allow Westbrook to be able to space the floor and get his teammates more involved when he’s getting double teamed. Last year the super teams were able to gang up on Russell Westbrook but this season with Melo & PG-13 now he has the help to take him to the top. Everyone has the expectations of a Western Conference Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors. This new look OKC Thunder team can definitely create a lot of problems for the Warriors and they can compete. The Thunder were 0-3 last season against the champions. This season the Thunder will be able to make it a competitive game or series if they were to end up playing in the WCF.
Russell Westbrook let it be known that he loves it in OKC and wanted to let it be known in the media that this is where he wants to be. Today Russell Westbrook made that official as he signed a 5-year/$205 million extension with OKC that will have him in Thunder colors until he’s 35 years of age. This was huge for the Thunder and huge for the new big 3’s season heading forward. With Russell Westbrook signing on the dotted line it lets people know that a small market can handle a superstar and more. Hopefully, Russell Westbrook signing could be enough to get Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to commit for a long time as well. Either way, this was huge for Sam Presti because this lets everyone including his players know that he’s willing to do anything to make sure that OKC’s a contender for now and the future with Russell Westbrook signing for that long period of time. The future is bright in OKC with the MVP staying and this will be a huge season for the franchise moving forward. Sam Presti needs to be congratulated for his efforts and he put people around Russell Westbrook to make it possible to be in championship contention.