He just has to sign by Oct. 16, but a month has passed since the start of free agency, and that contract remains untouched. Westbrook is still a flight risk to leave in 2018 as a free agent, which surely must concern the Thunder.
As of right now, OKC is “cautiously optimistic” that Westbrook will eventually sign for the long term, according to a report from Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.
Oklahoma City has plenty of advantages in its favor when it comes to retaining Westbrook.
The Thunder can offer Westbrook substantially more money than any other destination, and they are the only party currently able to negotiate with Westbrook since he is not a free agent. The club can offer immediate financial security that can’t be matched elsewhere.
Westbrook is also coming off a historic MVP campaign and vowed after the season that he would like to remain in Oklahoma City – the only franchise he’s ever known – going forward. Playing in the league’s smallest local market clearly didn’t restrict the 28-year-old, as he was one of the league’s most popular players last season.
The Thunder also traded for Paul George this offseason, thus demonstrating that their front office remains capable of landing stars. This reloaded Thunder squad figures to crack the top four in the Western conference should everyone remain healthy.
But perhaps Westbrook would like to keep his options open and see how the 2017-18 season pans out before making the biggest decision of his career. That same contract will most likely still be available to him next summer, so there’s little risk in the wait-and-see approach.