Russell Westbrook is eligible to renegotiate and extend his contract.
Such a renegotiation and extension could bump Westbrook’s 2016-17 salary from $17.8 million to the new max salary of $26.5 million. That’s an out-of-nowhere $8.7 million that Russ could collect. He could then extend for an additional three seasons for up to $91.5 million:
2016-17 – $26.5M
2017-18 – $28.5M
2018-19 – $30.5M
2019-20 – $32.5M
The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows Westbrook to extend for no more than three additional seasons.
The NBA had been estimating the 2017 salary cap would land at around $108 million. Using that figure, Westbrook’s salary in 2017-18 could have been an estimated $30.2 million under the current rules. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the NBA has revised those salary cap estimates down to $102 million. That would put Westbrook’s new estimated 2017-18 salary at… $28.5 million.
(I’m using round numbers for the sake of simplicity. The actual difference could be less than $50,000)
So hurdle #1 is cleared. It possible that Russell Westbrook would not leave much money on the table through 2020 and collect an unexpected $8.7 million bonus to boot.
Which brings us to hurdle #2. If Westbrook were to wait and become a free agent in 2017, he could sign for up to 5 years with Oklahoma City (again, under current rules that could change under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement). Such a deal could carry him through 2022 and tack an extra $72 million onto his deal.
And if you want to get even more complicated and add a third hurdle, Westbrook might be better served becoming a free agent in 2018 with 10 years of service in order to really maximize his earnings. Exact numbers get hazy because again, we don’t know what rules will be in place.
Needless to say, after all of the bad salary cap breaks that have come the Thunder’s way, there’s a chance that today’s new salary cap estimate gives the Thunder a chance to lock up their remaining superstar.