As great as things have gone for the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer, there's still one massive, dark cloud hanging over the start of training camp.
Despite the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony via trade, reigning MVP Russell Westbrook has yet to sign the five-year, $207 million contract extension that the Thunder reportedly offered him at the beginning of the summer.
During media day on Monday in Oklahoma City, Westbrook was asked point-blank whether he's going to sign the deal before the Oct. 16 deadline. Russ insinuated that he's been too busy this summer with his new baby to sign the extension, but reiterated that he wants to remain in Oklahoma City.
"Man it's been a long, long summer," Westbrook said. "I had a baby. So I've been working on a little fatherhood. But like I said before, man, this is the place I want to be. I love being here. I'm excited about the season -- obviously a lot of new changes. I'm excited. From that, I'll leave it there."
Westbrook has never given any indication that he plans to test free agency next summer (he has a $30.5M player option for 2018-19), but the Thunder front office has to be at least slightly concerned that he hasn't yet put pen to paper on the mega-extension. After Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double last season, Thunder general manager Sam Presti worked his magic to bring in George and Anthony, two stars to help OKC give the Warriors, Spurs and Rockets a run for their money in the West.
Just like Westbrook, George and Anthony can both become free agents after the season, so the long-term future of the Thunder is far from settled. Perhaps Westbrook wants some assurance from his new teammates that they're in this for the long haul before signing the extension. Or maybe he's telling the truth and he's just been too busy. Either way the clock is ticking for Westbrook, and with each day that passes Thunder fans get more and more anxious.