Commitment Issues: Russell Westbrook’s Jordan Deal Could Spell Trouble In OKC

This summer, we saw plenty of players get what they wanted. Jimmy Butler wanted out of Chicago? Moved to the Timberwolves on draft night. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George both wanted to cleanse themselves from their franchise and to actually play for a competitor? Now they’re jumping to the Western Conference to team up with Russell Westbrook.

Kyrie Irving wanted to be out from under LeBron James’ shadow? Hope his confidence in himself is more reasonable than his theory the earth is flat, because he got his wish. It’s like Oprah walked around to each star during the offseason and gave everyone what they wanted like she used to do on her show. “YOU get what you want! YOU get what you want! EVERY STAR GETS WHAT THEY WANT!”

During the time period where every star seemingly got wanted, Westbrook did too in the form of a contract extension. Not with Oklahoma City, but with Jordan.

Since we last saw Russell Westbrook on the court as he did everything in his power to lift an entire city off of its foundation and to carry it through the playoffs including break Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record, there’s been a lot of changes in Oklahoma City. To address the two elephant-sized superstars in the room, it’s clear this is no longer just a one-man show as Westbrook finally got some help in the form of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.

We should be giving Sam Presti the key to the city for giving the reigning MVP the firepower he needs to keep up in the West and to actually contend, but instead, we’re wondering why we’ve still yet to see Westbrook sign the dotted line and to extend his stay in the Sooner State longterm.

As Westbrook always does, he provided an answer. Sometimes he’ll give us an answer on how he’s feeling through his ridiculous attire or through a perfectly timed video he’ll post on social media, but we don’t have to break out the magnifying glasses for some detective work this time. He flat out gave a reason why he hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Thunder when the team was introducing himself and his two teammates together for the first time.

If you are currently finished watching that video and have caught yourself nodding along then that means you are either a mother/father to your own beautiful child, or are a babysitter with some serious boundary issues. Diving into the wide world of fatherhood is a perfectly good reason to not deal with signing an extension that wouldn’t kick in until 2019. Yet it wasn’t an appearance of his child that caught the attention of many, but a sighting of his other baby.

His first exclusive sneaker following his massive contract extension with Jordan.

Some sneakerheads might think these are actually way more important than any baby Westbrook can carry into a press conference even if he does it “Lion King” style, but the importance lies within the contract that got him these signature on-court sneakers.

As of September 13th, Russell Westbrook signed a 10-year contract extension with Nike’s Jordan Brand, making him the highest-paid endorser in the history of the brand.

Him still claiming he was busy traveling with family and spending time with his child is still reason enough to not extend, but that’s the problem within itself — he did extend.

Choosing to go with Jordan is simply the easier choice. It’s not like he has his entire future at stake with his sponsorship. He’ll just rake it checks, continue to be the face of the company, do very little to earn a ton of money, and go about his business. What he should have done first, is handle that business we speak of.

Westbrook was right about one thing when he addressed the media member’s question regarding his reasoning to not sign long-term with the Thunder. It has been a long summer. A summer that has gifted him two superstars for the likes of Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round draft pick.

This summer gave him a legitimate chance to actually take down the bulletproof Warriors thanks to the trillions of points the Thunder can seemingly score with both George and Anthony in town. Sam Presti did everything in his power to not only give his team the chance to win, but to reward Westbrook for being loyal. Instead of playing out his contract and abandoning the Thunder just like Kevin Durant did before him, he decided to stick around. Now, he has a star on either side of him and he still won’t extend.

Westbrook claims Oklahoma City is where he wants to be, and he’s likely telling the truth, but that doesn’t change the fact that the only thing to truly prove that is an extension. This deal was expected to be done early, and still isn’t done, even after the big three was unveiled in OKC.

Could it be because of the fact that both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George could leave after this season thanks to the ETO or the player option in each of their respective contracts? Is he looking to make sure the band stays together this time before watching yet another big three crumble around him leaving him with the rubble and the burden to carry this city alone?

Well, Westbrook won’t have until next season to figure out if Carmelo Anthony and Paul George are happy enough to stick around at least one more year. He’ll have until October 16th, three days before the regular season even tips off for the Thunder.

It shouldn’t have even come to a point where we should know the deadline. If Westbrook intends to stay in Oklahoma City, it’s a deal that should’ve been put before the Jordan extension. Sure, Westbrook has done enough for this city and has shown the necessary loyalty to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it would be asinine to say this city and team hasn’t done the exact same for him.

From offering him the extension in the first place to getting him the teammates to actually make some noise in this league, Oklahoma City has given him every reason to extend his stay by now.

Yet he goes on, day after day without a new deal. Every time those exclusive sneakers come out to play, it’ll be a reminder of what was more important this summer for Westbrook.