The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled off arguably the biggest offseason transaction in the franchise’s history after striking a trade with the New York Knicks for All-Star swingman Carmelo Anthony on Saturday. The power move solidified OKC as a legitimate title contender and a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors’ stranglehold in the Western Conference.

Still, Sam Presti has one more task to accomplish before training camp officially kicks off on Monday. Russell Westbrook, the reigning NBA regular-season MVP, has yet to sign his mega-deal extension of $207 million over five years.

Getting a long-term commitment from Westbrook will be critical for OKC moving forward, because all the player maneuvers (acquiring Paul George and Anthony) the Thunder front-office did this offseason will go for naught if the guard decides to test free-agency waters next summer.

Thunder went all-in for Westbrook’s extension

A year after losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors in free-agency, the Thunder reloaded and formed a new "Big 3" by bringing George and Anthony on board to join forces with Westbrook. Oklahoma went from a playoff contender to a serious title threat in just one sweeping move. However, looming in the background is the possibility that all of these could be for a one-year experiment.

Steve Mason of ESPN understands, well, the risk involved in the Thunder’s power moves, believing Westbrook’s extension will play a big part in convincing George and Melo to remain in OKC for any extended period of time. Failing to get Westbrook’s signature by Oct.17 would put the Thunder on a brink of full-blown rebuild next summer.

There’s still a good chance for Westbrook to sign the five-year extension. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook and George played a big role in recruiting Anthony to Oklahoma.

That being said, the Thunder point guard might be just waiting for Presti to complete the trade for Anthony before he signs on the dotted line.

Risky Melo

There are always risks involved in making trades, more so a blockbuster one. Anthony has one of the highest usage ratings in the league. The same could be said for George and Westbrook, who topped the statistical category last season.

Getting these three superstars the right number of touches will be a tough task for Billy Donovan and his coaching staff to figure for entire season.

However, the biggest problem the Melo trade presents is concerned with the Thunder’s current payroll. OKC is projected to pay $27.8MM luxury tax after absorbing Melo’s $26 million salary for next season. Moreover, Anthony’s lucrative player’s option for 2018/17 season worth $27 million could make things difficult for the Thunder to retain George or Westbrook should they decide to test the free-agency market.

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