West­brook con­tract talks pri­or­ity for Thun­der

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WASHINGTON: Sign­ing NBA su­per­star Rus­sell West­brook to a con­tract ex­ten­sion will be a key fo­cus for the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der this sum­mer, gen­eral man­ager Sam Presti said on Mon­day.

The team, ousted by Hous­ton in the first round of the NBA play­offs, can talk to West­brook start­ing July 1 about a fiveyear con­tract ex­ten­sion, hop­ing to avoid his po­ten­tial de­par­ture af­ter next sea­son.

“When that time comes, we’ll sit down, we’ll have con­ver­sa­tions with him about what that op­por­tu­nity presents,” Presti said.

“We’re ob­vi­ously hope­ful that he re­mains re­ally ex­cited about be­ing a part of this or­gan­i­sa­tion for the re­main­der of his ca­reer.”

West­brook, who this year be­came the first player since Os­car Robert­son in 196162 to av­er­age a triple-dou­ble for a full sea­son, could play one more sea­son and opt out of his con­tract, mak­ing him avail­able to the high­est bid­der next year.

Af­ter los­ing free agent Kevin Du­rant to the Golden State War­riors last July, the last thing the Thun­der want to have hap­pen is West­brook leav­ing, so they seek a new deal af­ter see­ing him make his­tory and in the wake of Du­rant’s de­par­ture.

“We had that con­ver­sa­tion with Rus­sell last year. He was re­ally clear and it worked it­self out,” Presti said.

“I think ev­ery­body knows how we feel about him. He’s a tran­scen­dent player. I think he’s a fu­tur­is­tic player. I think he’s a tremen­dous com­peti­tor and we’re for­tu­nate to have him. We’ll have a con­ver­sa­tion and hope­fully it goes our way.”

Presti, whose team reached the 2012 NBA Fi­nals but lost to Mi­ami, said he was not con­cerned about a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity for West­brook to be the fo­cus the Thun­der build around with his 29th birth­day com­ing in Novem­ber.

“He’s a dom­i­nant player and we’re so for­tu­nate to have him. I just don’t think there’s many play­ers that can im­pact the game like that,” Presti said.

“Some­times with Rus­sell, his ex­cel­lence and his great­ness, we look at it as if it’s some­thing that he has to do, not some­thing he can do. He’s that good.” AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.