Almost a month following Kevin Durant's now infamous decision 2.0, Russell Westbrook is still feeling the sting. Teammates for eight seasons, Durant didn't bother consulting his former All-Star mate before striking a two-year $54.3 million accord with rival Golden State.
The animosity Westbrook harbors toward the 2014 MVP is compounded by a rejected pre free-agency dinner plea and harrowing game seven loss to the very team Durant signed with. Recently, those closest to Westbrook detailed his frustration to ESPN's Royce Young:
"The two have not spoken since Durant's decision. Those close to Westbrook say he's both angry and hurt not only by Durant's decision to leave but also because Durant didn't even call to tell him personally. Westbrook wasn't prepared to be in this position -- three weeks ago, like everyone else, he thought Durant was coming back. And he had to learn the hard way he wasn't."
In essence, Durant's close-to-vest tactics have spun Westbrook and the entire Thunder franchise into a state of anxiety. While the five-time All Star officially becomes a free-agent after the 16'-17' season, the brevity of Durant's choice has forced Westbrook to consider his future plans a year sooner than expected.
Should Westbrook be traded this summer, a team just one win shy of the 2016 NBA Finals suddenly finds itself in full-on rebuild mode. Even worse, if Westbrook returns this season, yet opts to not sign an extension, next summer could see a repeat of the Durant fiasco.
When considering these options, Sam Presti has stated he isn't interested in either rebuilding or trading his star player. Ideally, Thunder brass would revel in extending Westbrook's contract in similar fashion to Houston's max extension of James Harden.
According to Royce Young, Westbrook is seriously contemplating this scenario:
"There's a growing belief Westbrook will think heavily about an extension but will first weigh every angle before doing it."
With Dion Waiters' recent pact with Miami, Oklahoma City now holds the requisite cap space to offer such a major deal to their All-NBA guard. For his part, Westbrook has stated he does not want to be traded and desires to play next season for the Thunder.
With draft-night acquisitions of Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis, plus the signing of Alex Abrines, Oklahoma City has a nice core to surround Westbrook with this season. However, as marquee names are set to hit the market next summer, it is Presti's wish to further build around Westbrook pursuant to his inking a lucrative long-term contract.