In an NBA season filled with spectacular individual accolades, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook shined the brightest and made history in the process.
The 28-year-old won the hotly-contest MVP race after posting averages of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only two players to average a triple-double for the season.
CBS SPORTS: NBA SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
While former teammate Kevin Durant was widely panned for his decision to chase a championship by joining the already-formidable Golden State Warriors, Westbrook was embraced by Thunder fans for sticking with his original team.
Before last season, he signed a three-year deal worth $86 million and was paid $26,540,100 in the first year of it. He is guaranteed $28,530,608 for the upcoming season. However, the third and final year has a player option, and it would pay Westbrook $30,521,115 if he opts in.
But there is some speculation that the UCLA product could opt out and, like Durant before him, seek to join a team that is closer to contending for a championship.
Sportsbook Bookmaker.eu is offering a proposition for Westbrook?s landing spot at the start of next season:
Which team will Russell Westbrook play for during 2018-19 NBA season?
Oklahoma City Thunder, -200 (risk $200 to win $100)
Cleveland Cavaliers +250 (risk $100 to win $250)
Los Angeles Lakers +800 (risk $100 to win $800)
Field +100 (risk $100 to win $100)
GET SPORTSLINE EXPERT PICKS FOR ALL SPORTS BY CLICKING HERE
Pick: Thunder. Even with the obscene escalation of NBA salaries, this is just too much for Westbrook to walk away from. Although there would undoubtedly be a market for his services, it?s far from a lock that he could garner the same salary.
Moreover, by sticking with the Thunder, he would become eligible for the "supermax" type of contract just signed by Stephen Curry of the Warriors.
Ultimately, the Thunder provide two key advantages over all other competitors -- the most money and, of course, the perpetual green light for Westbrook to take as many shots as he pleases.