Thunder organization, fans celebrate Russell Westbrook's contract extension
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) - Exactly one month ago Kevin Durant shocked the NBA world when he decided to bolt from Oklahoma City and sign with the Golden State Warriors. Today, Thunder fans received some more big news, of a much different kind as the team's other star, Russell Westbrook signed a contract extension that will keep him in Thunder blue for at least two more years.
"There's no place I'd rather be than Oklahoma City," said Westbrook.
The extension, along with Durant's departure, leave Westbrook as the face of the franchise. A roll he's glad to take, but feels doesn't change his mentality toward the game.
"Coming in every day and being consistent on what I'm doing and what I'm trying to do. For this organization and for this team, and that's win a championship. The most important part is winning regardless of if I'm the go to guy, or not. My job is to find ways to win," said Westbrook.
"I think he's become synonymous not only with the Thunder, but the city and the spirit of the city," Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said. "We're just overjoyed that he's going to continue his career and his legacy with the Thunder. It's a wonderful day for the city. It's a great day for his family, and we should celebrate it."
The elephant in the room continued to be the departure of Durant. Westbrook says he found out the news like everybody else through social media and internet. The friendship remains intact according to the all-star point guard. But he admits KD's move will take time to smooth over.
"We've been together eight years. You don't throw that away and obviously now he's with a new team. We definitely will talk eventually, but obviously now we haven't. My job now is to worry about what's in front of me," said Westbrook.
With the addition of young, upstart talent and returning teammates, Westbrook sees the franchise moving forward. But one of the bigger reasons he decided to stick around was the fans. The OKC community and state of Oklahoma have made Russ truly feel at home.
"Everywhere I walk around, nobody has ever said anything to me negatively. Always everything positive. Always great encouragement. And that's what I like to be around. I like to be around where I'm loved and where I'm wanted. And this is obviously the place for that."
Copyright KSWO 2016. All Rights Reserved.