With Dion Waiters agreeing in principle to a deal with the Miami Heat, according to multiple reports, the Oklahoma City Thunder have opened the option to offer All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook a maximum level extension.
In the wake of former MVP Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder have turned their attention to locking up Westbrook long-term as their primary offseason objective and will present him with an extension offer. Westbrook is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Thunder rescinded Waiters' $6.8 million qualifying offer last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. However, they did not renounce him, keeping his Bird Rights, which also put a $12.8 million cap hold on their books. With Waiters set to sign with the Heat, that hold will come off, bringing the Thunder more than $14 million under the salary cap. To sign Westbrook to a maximum extension, the Thunder need about $8.7 million in space.
The Thunder can renegotiate Westbrook's contract up, starting him on a four-year, maximum level deal this season. Currently, Westbrook is set to make $17.7 million this season, but could move that to close to around $27.5 million on a renegotiated deal this season. In the long term, Westbrook will make more money on a renegotiated extension than if he waits to sign a max level contract next summer, even with the rising salary cap.
Should Westbrook reject the Thunder's extension offer, the team will likely then explore trading their All-Star point guard.
Westbrook can sign an extension with the Thunder up to June 30, 2017.