Russell Westbrook hits free agency next summer, but the Oklahoma City Thunder feel like they’ll be able to retain him. 

According to ESPN’s Royce Young, the Thunder have high optimism that Westbrook, their MVP point guard, will sign an extension before the end of the 2017-18 season.

To me, seven guys are worthy of the $200 million mega-contract. Westbrook is one of them. Stephen Curry and James Harden already got theirs. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the four who round out the list.

If Young’s reporting is accurate and Russ sticks around for four or five more years, he’s easily going to command a multi-nine figure payday. And with good reason. Westbrook was one of the storylines that made for an entertaining NBA season. Scorned by the departure of his partner-in-crime, he took the court on a nightly basis and just dominated.

Also Read: Westbrook’s Triple-Double Season Is Better Than Oscar Robertson’s

He put together a historically great season by averaging a triple-double — 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists. Not only did he bring home the MVP, but he also made his sixth All-Star team and landed on the All-NBA’s first team for the second-consecutive season. It’s safe to say that he’s a superstar.

To avoid a repeat of this season, Sam Presti worked his magic — literally — and traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. He then signed Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton for almost nothing. These moves were made to prevent the burnout that Westbrook had in the playoffs. As great as he was during the regular season, that exhaustive workload caught up to him against the Houston Rockets.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the biggest threat to Oklahoma City. Not only is Westbrook a Southern California native, but they’re also trying to form their own superteam to take down the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder have already lost one generational talent to free agency, and I don’t believe they want to experience a loss that great again.

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