We all know that Russell Westbrook is both number one in the league and in our hearts but the question remains; Should Russell Westbrook take the super max deal? According to NBC sports, Westbrook can accept a super max deal worth $220 million if he were to resign a contract that would make him more than likely a Thunder lifer. There is no question that Westbrook deserves the super max for his production and his importance to both the city and the fans in Oklahoma City but that is not the topic of discussion in this article. Let us consider some variables:
1.) The West is Evolving
The western conference grows more competitive with each season making the quest for a championship that much more difficult for Westbrook and the Thunder. Let us consider these teams:
GSW – Likely to be in the WCF or the finals for the next 3-5 seasons unless they lose members of their overpowered arsenal.
SA – Chris Paul is likely joining the spurs who were already incredibly good to begin with. They pose a true threat for not just the Thunder but for the Warriors.
LAC – Good news, they are no longer contenders.
HOU – Incredibly talented team of shooters. OKC must have a true number 2 option and role players that can score from outside to beat Houston.
MIN – Many may laugh at this selection but look at their roster:
- SF – Andrew Wiggins
- SG – Zach LaVine
- PG – Kris Dunn / Ricky Rubio
- PF/C – Karl Towns
- Lottery Selection this season
This team will be relevant and a major thorn in the western conference in the coming seasons.
UTAH – Utah has made strides but losing Hayward will be a huge blow to their title hopes.
POR – Lillard and McCollum are a dangerous duo, Portland also possesses 3 1st round selections in this years draft. They are already a playoff team and should not be overlooked.
LAL – “The Lakers really?!” , Consider this,
- Deangelo Russell ( 2 years in )
- Brandon Ingram ( 1 year in )
- #2 selection in the draft
We will see another big 3 form in LA in the next few years as these guys develop
PHX – TJ Warren, DEVIN BOOKER, Eric Bledsoe, and a lottery selection. The only reason the suns make this list is due to the fact that Booker is a certified baller. Booker has scoring titles in his future and Warren has improved significantly. If they land on they draft pick this year look out in the upcoming seasons.
The west is stacked with talent. Look out east, It’s just the Cavs and a young Celtics squad with the number one pick.
Why is all of this relevant to Westbrook’s Super Max? That’s the next topic of discussion,
2.) Salary Cap
A super max puts Westbrook at 44 million annually which is almost 1/3 of the cap and 1/4 with collective bargain options. Westbrook accepting such a deal means that OKC won’t be able to afford to bring in any free agents to help him compete in a conference that is only becoming increasingly competitive. With the West evolving, Oklahoma City must adapt or simply falter. If Westbrook would be willing to take roughly 36 million annually instead of the full max then Oklahoma City would have 8 million extra for free agent acquisitions in each season. An improved supporting cast is the only way that Oklahoma City can compete for the championship in the coming seasons.
Bottom line, Westbrook deserves to get paid. Taking a little less would increase the team’s chances of succeeding in the future.