Thunder’s Westbrook calls OKC “the place where I want to be”
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who has yet to sign a contract extension, said Monday that Oklahoma City is where he wants to be and he is ”happy” about the offseason additions of superstars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.
”I love it here,” he said. ”I like where I’m at, and I like where our team is at.”
George is a four-time All-Star and one of the best defensive wings in the league. Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and remains one of the league’s top scorers. Westbrook, the reigning league MVP, complimented general manager Sam Presti for making the moves.
”He’s done an amazing job and he’s done a great job ever since I’ve been here,” Westbrook said. ”He’s constantly doing things to make us better.”
Westbrook said he hasn’t signed because of the birth of his son and a busy travel schedule, and the situation has tempered some of the excitement building around the team. He has until Oct. 16 to ink a contract that would be worth more than $200 million.
”Just trying to get my family together,” he said. ”Having a new son can be a little difficult. Embracing family time before the season starts.”
Westbrook’s relationship with Anthony was critical in the Thunder landing him.
”Me and Russ became closer and closer over the years,” Anthony said. ”He was a big part of me coming here. Adding PG (George) was just another reason why I wanted to come here. Just wanted to bring some more energy. Winning a championship in our career is our goal.”
Enes Kanter, who was sent from Oklahoma City to New York as part of the Anthony deal, expects Westbrook to sign the deal.
”He told me how much he loves Oklahoma City and how much he sees Oklahoma City like his family,” Kanter said. ”So I think, I feel like he’s going to sign with them. I mean, that’s his legacy. That’s his team and he’s not going to leave his legacy behind.”
George can’t believe the great fortune he has fallen into since being traded from Indiana. He believes his game will work well with Anthony’s.
”Hopefully, Russ and I will both make the game as easy as possible for him,” George said. ”We will leave Melo to do what Melo does. It’s to take the pressure off him defensively. I think we will work well together. We are completely different players in my mind, but we both have the same goal and that is to win. He’s ready to win.”
Anthony has averaged 24.8 points in his career. He plans to be a team player, yet still be aggressive.
”I score,” he said. ”I can’t take that away from me. I do that very well. I think the team needs that. For the most part I just want to be able to do what I do best.”
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this report.
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