Entering the 2007 NBA Draft, Kevin Durant found himself as a top prospect being selected by the Seattle Supersonics. With the franchise electing for a change of scenery, the Supersonics took on a fresh name in an up and coming town, Oklahoma City. From day one, the forward seemed destined for superstar status as a part of the Thunder organization. Appearing to be a staple in the small market, Durant signed a five-year extension in 2010. In the wake of the signing, KD elevated his game to new heights collecting four scoring titles, an MVP Trophy, and an NBA Finals appearance before the clock struck midnight on the five-year deal.
As the bell tolled, the sweepstakes for the NBA’s top free agent began a summer Thunder fans will never forget. Meeting with several franchises over the course of the summer, the decision was narrowed down to three — Oklahoma City, Boston, and Golden State. After nine consecutive years of complete fan support, the choice was obvious, right?
A day that remains in ruins for many, July 4th of 2016 marked the end between Kevin Durant and OKC fanatics. The announcement that the superstar would sign with the Warriors went viral igniting a moment of desperation for the Thunder front office.
In a move deemed absolutely necessary, the Thunder extended an offer in the direction of Russell Westbrook. Agreeing to the deal exactly a month after KD announced his intentions, Westbrook stood in the gap left behind effectively adding a single year to his contract. Set to enter restricted free agency in 2018, Oklahoma City once again feels the need to secure a superstar for the foreseeable future of the franchise.
Clearly wanting to move forward with Westbrook as the face of the Thunder, OKC can draw up a new extension for the 28-year old this summer despite signing Russ to an extension a year ago. Estimated to land somewhere in the ballpark of $220 million over five years, Westbrook would become the highest paid player in the NBA at the time of signing. However, the terms may only be discussed and negotiated beginning on July 1st (if my understanding of the current CBA is correct).
Enter the potential for Westbrook to not only reclaim but also redeem the 4th of July for Oklahoma City fans. Knowing discussions open at the beginning of July, many expect the 2017 MVP front-runner to put pen to paper on the first of the month. Yet, the entire reason of writing this post has been building to one plea, an open cry if you will — RUSS, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD, PUMP THE BRAKES!
Exercising a bit of patience, an announcement could very easily and realistically be made three days later, on Independence Day. In doing so, July 4th would be reclaimed as a day of celebration in the small market of Oklahoma City. Fans could then move one step closer to forgetting the legacy left behind by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and Westbrook, one step closer to rewriting Thunder history.