Russell Westbrook reiterated on Sunday, three days after signing a five-year extension, that he never considered leaving the Thunder.
“From day one, this is the spot I wanted to be,” Westbrook said. “The organization believed in me by surprisingly picking me No. 4. A lot of guys doubted me, but from day one this organization supported me.”
Westbrook would have become a restricted free agent if he had not agreed to a contract by Wednesday. But the Thunder's commitment to him, Westbrook said, made staying for another five seasons a no-brainer.
“I can say this for any player in the league. You want to be somewhere where you're wanted,” Westbrook said. “I wanted to be somewhere where I had great support, and this is the spot for me.”
Westbrook also said the uncertainty of his future didn't weigh heavily on him, even though negotiations dragged out and his performance at the start of the season was subpar.
“I wasn't stressing over it,” Westbrook insisted. “My agent, Sam (Presti) and Clay (Bennett) were taking care of it. My job was to go on the court each night and compete.”
Presti and coach Scott Brooks both gushed on Sunday over how far Westbrook has come so fast.
“How can you not love this guy?” Brooks asked. “The guy plays with so much passion. He plays with toughness. He plays for the team. And he's improved every month since we've had him.
“I like the fact that he wants to be coached. He understands than he's not a finished product. His family has done a great job of instilling that work ethic in him.”