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Russell Westbrook has until Oct. 16 to sign max extension with Thunder

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on Wednesday afternoon that the league has decided to move up the start of the 2017-18 season to Oct. 17. Last season, opening night was on Tuesday, October 25th, but this season’s opening night comes eight days earlier.

According to Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript, this has also pushed forward the deadline that the Oklahoma City Thunder have to sign Russell Westbrook to the designated veteran player extension.

The Thunder have reportedly already presented Westbrook with the super max contract that is estimated to be worth around $235 million, which would effectively eclipse the league-record $228 million extension that James Harden signed with the Houston Rockets this past weekend.

Westbrook has earned the opportunity to be offered this unique deal due to winning the NBA MVP award for last season. It was one of the few set criteria laid out by the new collective bargaining agreement that allows for players to receive the lucrative contract.

That said, the ball is now in the 27-year-old’s hands as his decision will have a major impact on the long-term outlook of the franchise. If Westbrook were to depart in free agency next summer, it would place the Thunder into full rebuild mode without a superstar to construct a roster around.

His choice may also have a huge influence on what Paul George opts to do with his pending free agency next offseason. This only further emphasizes that Westbrook has the fate of the organization squarely dependent on his shoulders and what he opts to do with the contract extension.