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Russell Westbrook inks extension with Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) goes

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) goes to the basket against Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game. (Jan. 18, 2012) Credit: AP

As first reported by Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski and later confirmed by the Thunder, point guard Russell Westbrook has agreed to an extension with Oklahoma City.

According to several reports, the deal is for five years and $80 million.

Westbrook's name has come up in the past as part of trade rumors -- never confirmed by Oklahoma City -- likely because of his sometimes inconsistent play. An incredibly athletic guard who can get to the bucket with ease, Westbrook sometimes appears to struggle accepting his role as the team's No. 2 scorer behind Kevin Durant.

The trouble in paradise was never more apparent than during last year's NBA playoffs. Westbrook shot 39.4 percent from the floor and 29.3 percent from three, and committed the most turnovers -- 78 -- of anyone in the postseason. Oklahoma City was disappointingly eliminated in five games by the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

Despite the growing pains, though, Westbrook is one of the league's top point guards, arguably a top five player in the Western Conference, and just 23 years old.

He averaged 21.9 points and 8.2 assists last season in 34.7 minutes per game, and while he's off to a slow start this year (his assists are down from 8.5 to 6.0 per 36 minutes, and his three point percentage is back below 30 percent), the deal makes total sense for a Thunder franchise that is built to contend over the long haul. (Remember, Durant signed a five-year extension to stay in Oklahoma City during the 2010 offseason.)

New York Sports