Originally posted on Bloguin Best  |  Last updated 1/19/12

Russell Westbrook just became a very rich man, because he's now the second member of the 2008 draft class (along with Derrick Rose) to get a contract extension. And man, was it a big one.

All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook has signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti finalized the deal with Westbrook’s agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, on Wednesday night.

And now the debate begins: Is Russell Westbrook a max player in the NBA? He's certainly very good. And it's clearly working in Oklahoma City. So you can easily argue that for this team, this works... even if you're over-paying a little.

His adjusted PER is 23.75, good for Top 15 in the NBA. He's a scorer who turns the ball over more than you'd like, takes some ill-advised shots, and has moved away from distributing the ball some. So there are enough warts on his game that make you think max money is too much money.

Regardless, it's a move Oklahoma City had to make. It's also a move that will ultimately put them over the cap next season. Westbrook's raise alone won't do it, but filling out the roster will. Which shows that small markets will spend money when they have good teams. Do you really think the Thunder would let Westbrook get away when Oklahoma City's got a top-5 offense going just to save a few bucks?

I don't want to turn this into the big-market vs. small-market debate. But this shows that spending money doesn't always lead to success. Success also leads to spending money. The Thunder and Sam Presti have been a model for rebuilding a franchise, and spending money goes along with that. They now have the two cornerstones, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, locked up long-term. But starting next year, they'll face a new set of challenges that goes along with being a team over the cap. It will be interesting to see how Westbrook and the team handle things moving forward.

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