For five more years and $206 Million later, Russell Westbrook is officially the NBA’s highest paid player.


Coming off an MVP season in which you averaged a triple double, becoming only the second player in the history of the game to do so, it would be easy for anyone to see the reasoning behind an extension.


What’s not so easy to see is the loyalty that is behind it.


When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder last off-season for the Golden State Warriors, it would be the beginning of the enhanced love affair between Russell Westbrook and OKC.


While they were together, Durant was always looked at as the main guy who was beloved by the city while Westbrook was oftentimes pegged as the reason as to why they couldn’t make it over the hump and win a title. Westbrook’s penchant to want the ball in late game situations and want to take that shot rubbed people the wrong way who believed that Durant should have those opportunities. We all knew that Westbrook could score and was extremely dynamic, but with Durant on the same team, many thought that he should have conceded a lot more.


Now that Durant had left, it was truly time for the people to see what Westbrook could really do and man did he show them.


(Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman)

His relentlessness and tenacity were taken up a few notches and night in and night out, he was counting up the triple doubles and more importantly, the wins for the Thunder. This was all being done without a supremely talented team like those that he was having to face on a daily basis, especially in the Western Conference.


Last season, Westbrook came into his own and asserted his dominance not only on the NBA, but to the fans of OKC who had placed a lot of the blame on him for past failures, but were now praising him for current successes.


Why the sudden change of heart? Loyalty over everything.


It means a lot to a franchise when a player decides to make that long term commitment to their team and the city. With the rising revenue of the league and new deals and contracts being worked out all over the place, the money is amazing no matter where you go. However, it says a lot when a player wants to stay at the place where he started and not follow the trend of joining forces with other great players on others teams.


His decision to stay in OKC made Westbrook the hero of the league last year and now that he has just inked this new extension, he is getting paid like one.


The thing is, there’s no one more deserving of that type of honor. Other than LeBron James, what player has given more to his current franchise? Russell Westbrook means something in Oklahoma City, so much so that the mayor has recently just declared everyday “Russell Westbrook Day”. A bit extreme? Of course, but it all comes back to loyalty and Westbrook is one of the league’s most loyal stars. It’s good to see that he is being rewarded for it.


Do you think Westbrook deserved this Extension? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.