On Friday, September 29th - Kevin Durant's birthday, Russell Westbrook signed an extension contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder for five years and $205 million, the NBA reported. By signing on the dotted line, Russ became the highest paid player in NBA history. With a starting salary of $35,350,000 for the 2017-18 season, the MVP point guard is finally getting what was coming to him.

But money isn't the only part of the game.

There's a thing called winning championships, and this is where Westbrook and the Thunder need help. So they made some offseason moves.

For peanuts, they got Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Other than taking more talent away from the Eastern Conference, Oklahoma City has created a trigger-happy Big Three. Will it work? Only time will tell. The first game of the regular season for OKC starts on October 20th (the Knicks come to town, funny enough).

Will this contract pay off?

Yes, OKC gets their lifer PG through the 2022-23 season if he takes the player option. But will this long-term contract show other players - other superstars - that this market and this team is for real? Melo and PG13 are here for a year for certain, and Paul George has said that Westbrook's contract will make things easier when it comes free agency time.

This small sample size of maybe 82 games (all three are prone to injury) is all this Thunder team has to prove to their one-year wrecking crew to stay and build in the Midwest.

What does Paul George's veiled statement mean? Does the contract make it easier to remain with the team that traded for these players and took a chance on limited play?

Or will the lack of liquid funds in OKC's budget cause these two All-Stars to jump ship?

Consider the alternative

Let's take this one player at a time:

  • Paul George has spent some of his best years in the sinkhole that is Indiana. Every pundit has claimed he wants to head west and play for the LA Lakers. Well, this is also year one for this young Laker's team. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randall are all untested and newborns to the league. How long will it take for this fresh roster take to rebuild? How many more years will it take from Paul George's best playing years? As a career move, I'd stay with a solid core comprised of a top-5 point guard, decent frontcourt players, and potentially Carmelo Anthony.
  • Speaking of which...Melo has only done well with some extra help (kind of like LeBron which is weird). Back in Denver, they had an old Allen Iverson, prime Marcus Camby, court general Chauncey Billups, and for a while, they were just good enough to make the playoffs consistently. New York was shambles after the Anthony trade and never recovered.
  • Now, Carmelo has the most talent around him he has ever had. Despite not being granted clearance to Houston or Cleveland, Carmelo now has someone to dish him the ball and another guy to shoot when he's off. Sure, he can go anywhere after this season, but what does that mean? Another year to get used to a new team, new offensive schemes, different city, moving families. Sounds like a lot of pressure for a husband and father looking for a few last gasps at glory.

This could be awesome, or awful

We won't know how the three egos mesh until they get a few games under their belt.

The opportunity is there. Of course, the Rockets and the Warriors and the Spurs will be spectacular, but I feel Oklahoma City has the potential to dominate the regular season and finish with a top five record in the entire league. Plus they get to play in Mexico.

The number one question is: Who will make the sacrifice? Who will be the third option? Who takes the last shot? If they each tweak their games to fit in this roster - Carmelo becomes a catch-and-shoot specialist, Russ doesn't chase stats circa 2016, PG becomes elite on defense and spreads the floor - this could be something special.

Either way props to Westbrook

He knows players will come to him. In an age of mobility, with a ton of free agency acquisitions this offseason, Russell decided not to join the circus and focus on basketball.

And OKC's organization delivered him players. As Colin Cowherd said on his show, "You just now secured the most glamorous player...let's just ensure that we have maybe the most dynamic star." If anything, they stay relevant and Russ got PAID.

(And if Carmelo Anthony can't get it done in Oklahoma, at least there's the BIG3 Basketball League.)