PG Says Westbrook Decision Will "Absolutely" Figure In His Own
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
All is well in Thunderland right now, no fretting among team officials or fans about when, of if, Russell Westbrook will sign his extension.
Westbrook put pen to paper on Friday with no muss and no fuss.
Head coach Billy Donovan found out when Westbrook walked by his office and gave him a thumbs up...
"He came walking by and kinda gave me a thumbs up and he came back in and he told me the deal was signed and I gave him a hug and told him I was happy and congratulations. It was great, I was really, really happy."
Carmelo Anthony got a bunch of text messages and Paul George saw the news go by on the ticker while watching NBATV.
"And then we were all happy, all happy to see him long term here."
Will Westbrook's decision play a role in the decision George has to make next summer?
"Absolutely, absolutely," he said and when was pressed about how it would factor in he said, "For him to be committed here, it says a lot. Not only in us pairing together, but just knowing what type of dude Russ is and his values and his beliefs and him being committed to this organization says a lot. And I'm one person that's enjoying it here, so I think when that time comes, the decision will be easier to make for myself."
Presumably it will be easier for him to stay in Oklahoma City instead of going home to the Los Angeles area to play for a Lakers team that right now is no where close to the Thunder's talent level.
As for Anthony, when he was asked the same question he wanted to deflect any talk about what might happen next summer when he could opt out of his current deal.
"I'm not even answering those questions," Anthony said with a chuckle. "I don't even want to alter my focus and my vision right now, being in training camp and trying to get things rolling."
Anthony said earlier this week he loved being able to just focus on basketball for right now in Oklahoma City instead of being pulled this way and that in New York City.
But you figure having Westbrook committed long-term will influence Melo that same way as George and both have been impressed with what they've seen on and off the court in OKC.
"This is a first class organization," George said. "Just off the charts everywhere across the board. They dedicate really everything to their players. You don't have any distractions and you can come in and just dedicate your time to your craft. That's what you're allowed to do here and you enjoy that."
"I feel like I'm in college again," Anthony said. "Just going around in the city it has that college feel. The energy, the joy I have back with the game of basketball, I can feel it, I can feel it when I'm out and about. The energy is just different."
Anthony told reporters he was "happy" when he heard the news that Westbrook had re-upped.
"He's the cornerstone of this organization, and he's proven that yesterday by agreeing to that deal not only showing this organization his commitment, but showing (Oklahoma City) his commitment to them, too."
Westbrook has not practiced with the group yet and won't play in Sunday's blue-white scrimmage at Edmond North High School.
He will be there though and will address the crowd during what the team is calling ThunderFest with Russ.
Here is the media release on that event sent out by the team.
The Oklahoma City Thunder invites fans to join in the festivities as the team holds ThunderFest with Russ on Sunday afternoon. The event, featuring food trucks, a dance troupe, DJ and an appearance from Russell Westbrook, will give fans an opportunity to celebrate Westbrook’s multi-year contract extension and to honor his contributions to the Thunder and to Oklahoma.
ThunderFest will be held outside Edmond North High School, 215 W. Danforth Rd. in Edmond, and will get underway at 1 p.m. Central. The event is free and open to the public.
Fans who plan to attend are strongly encouraged to arrive early. Public parking at the high school is very limited in the east parking lot, off of Thomas Drive. Offsite parking is encouraged.
After that event the blue-white scrimmage will tipoff. There are no public tickets for the scrimmage. Just like past years the school is distributing tickets to its students.
The Thunder's newest stars will really begin to feel the energy during the next several days and when Melo's old team, the New York Knicks roll in here for Opening Night on October 19th, look out...The Peake will be rockin' like never before.