Reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook once again signaled his loyalty to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday when he signed a five-year, $205 million deal.
The deal begins with the 2018-19 season, and puts Westbrook under contract with the Thunder through the 2022-23 campaign.
Westbrook displayed his happiness with the new deal by posting a picture of himself on his Instagram page. Wearing an orange "OKC" jersey with his arms raised, Westbrook wrote two words: "WHY NOT??"WHY NOT??
The 28-year-old Westbrook is coming off a historic season in which he averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists and set an NBA record with 42 triple-doubles. He broke the mark of Oscar Robertson (1962) and joined the Hall of Famer as the only players to average a triple-double over an entire season. The six-time All-Star won his second scoring crown and scored 40 or more points on 18 occasions.
Westbrook's signing comes after Oklahoma City acquired star forwards Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in trades, moves that make the team a legitimate threat to reach the Western Conference finals.
The small-market Thunder took a hit when All-Star forward Kevin Durant departed as a free agent in July 2016. Soon thereafter, Westbrook agreed to a contract extension through 2018-19, the final season being a player option. The short-term deal created flexibility for Oklahoma City to add parts -- hence the moves to land George and Anthony -- in hopes of enticing Westbrook to remain with the franchise.
Westbrook, the No. 4 overall pick in 2008, outdistanced Houston's James Harden to win MVP honors. Westbrook has career averages of 22.7 points, 7.9 assists and 6.2 rebounds.