Sam Presti has become a household name within the past few months of the NBA offseason, and he surely has deserved it.
Snatching Paul George from the Pacers and Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks is just the headline of what he’s done, but the behind-the-scenes work to guarantee OKC will have a long-term chance at contention is something he’s excelled at. But is Westbrook’s recent five-year extension something that could affect the long term lineup for the Thunder? Absolutely.
In a post practice media interview with Paul George (via Royce Young at ESPN), when asked about Westbrook’s extension and how it’ll play out as a factor for possibly re-signing with the Thunder, George responded with:
"We've been on an unbelievable start right now, and for him to be committed here, it says a lot," George said. "Not only in us pairing together, but just knowing what type of dude Russ is and his values and his beliefs and him being committed to this organization says a lot. And I'm one person that's enjoying it here, so I think when that time comes, the decision will be easier to make for myself."
PG will undergo unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018, and ever since his request out of Indiana, there has been a ridiculous amount of talk regarding his possible end-game destination as Los Angeles.
Unfortunately for those who’d love to see George as a long-term piece in OKC, he’s already dismissed any talks of future destinations and has prioritized his focus on the present season.
There’s no doubt that with Westbrook under contract for another six years that the Thunder are in a much more comfortable place with themselves, and can now focus on bench development and becoming a long-term championship contender.