Archive for September 29th, 2017

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed guard Russell Westbrook to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

“Russell represents everything we could have ever hoped for when building a basketball team for Oklahoma City,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “His character, integrity and relentless drive have been a great unifier that has deeply and positively affected the spirit of our fans inside our arena, in our classrooms and in our neighborhoods. We recognize and deeply appreciate Russell’s rare and unique abilities as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also understand his presence and impact on our community will be felt for decades to come. On behalf of the entire Thunder organization, our ownership group and all of Oklahoma, I want to express my deepest appreciation to Russell and I know that the very best days for the Thunder are yet to come.”

According to the Oklahoman, “the Thunder guard agreed to a five-year contract extension Friday that will keep him in Oklahoma City through the 2022-23 season. The extension is the largest in NBA history, estimated at $205 million over five years. His average salary ($38.8 million) over the length of the total six years he’s under contract is projected to eclipse that of former teammate James Harden ($38 million).”

This past season, Westbrook was named the 2016-17 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player after becoming just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook established a new NBA record with 42 triple-doubles while averaging a league-best 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds (10th in the NBA), 10.4 assists (third in the NBA) and 1.63 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. He earned All-NBA first team honors for the second time in his career.

“Russell’s commitment to the Thunder organization since its inception in 2008 has helped propel us to great heights and stare down great challenges over our first decade,” said Presti. “We are extremely fortunate to have an athlete, competitor and person such as Russell wear the Thunder uniform. To have him cement his legacy as a leader as we enter into our 10th season in Oklahoma City is extraordinary. I am extremely grateful to Russell, his family and to our ownership for the commitment and support that they have demonstrated in supporting our vision for the Thunder.”

The six-time All-Star and two-time All-Star game MVP recorded triple-doubles in seven consecutive games on two separate occasions this past season (11/25-12/9 and 3/22-4/4), to become the first player in NBA history to accomplish the feat. He was named Western Conference Player of the Month for November and February and earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors four times.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no place I would rather be than Oklahoma City,” said Westbrook. “I am so honored to have the opportunity to continue my career here with the Thunder. From day one the support that Mr. Bennett, Sam, Troy and the entire organization have given me and my family has been incredible, and we are so grateful. When you play in Oklahoma City you play in front of the best fans in the world, I’m looking forward to bringing everything I’ve got, for them, this city and for this organization. WHY NOT?”

Originally selected by Oklahoma City with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Westbrook has helped guide the Thunder to the postseason in seven of the last nine seasons. During that time Oklahoma City has advanced to the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals once. The Thunder is one of three NBA franchises (Houston and San Antonio) to have finished the regular season with a .500 or better record in each of the last eight seasons.

The UCLA product owns career averages of 22.7 points, 7.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 1.73 steals and 34.1 minutes in 668 games (651 starts). Westbrook won a gold medal in 2012 as a member of the United States Olympic team that went a perfect 8-0 during Olympic competition.

Nuggets exercise options on Trey Lyles, Emmanuel Mudiay, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Jamal Murray

The Denver Nuggets have exercised the fourth-year options for both Trey Lyles and Emmanuel Mudiay and exercised the third-year options for Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Jamal Murray, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Lyles, 6-10, 243, was drafted out of the University of Kentucky with the 12th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He was acquired by Denver, along with Tyler Lydon, in a draft-night trade on June 22, 2017. He appeared in 151 games (37 starts) in his first two seasons with Utah, averaging 6.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game.

Mudiay, 6-5, 200, was selected by Denver with the seventh overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. He has played in 123 games (107 starts) over his first two seasons, posting averages of 12.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 28.2 minutes per game.

Beasley, 6-5, 196, was drafted out of Florida State University with the 19th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by Denver. He appeared in 22 games (one start) for the Nuggets as a rookie, averaging 3.8 points in 7.5 minutes. He also appeared in 16 games (12 starts) for Sioux Falls of the NBA G-League, averaging 18.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.10 steals in 31.9 minutes.

Hernangomez, 6-9, 230, was selected by Denver with the 15th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Madrid, Spain native played in 62 games (nine starts) as a rookie last season, posting averages of 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game.

Murray, 6-4, 207, was selected by Denver with the seventh overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. He appeared in all 82 games (10 starts) as a rookie last season, averaging 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 21.5 minutes per game. The Kitchener, Canada native earned All-Rookie Second Team honors, was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for Oct./Nov. and won the MVP award at the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

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