Even before this season’s trade deadline, there were widespread rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move on from Russell Westbrook. Things only got worse after the trade deadline as the team failed to even reach the play-in tournament. It’s been thought that Westbrook has been on borrowed time with the Lakers for months now.
However, tides are starting to turn. New head coach Darvin Ham suggested that Westbrook is in his plans for next season and has strong praise for the former MVP. The guard even showed up to the coach’s introductory press conference. That’s certainly not something a player who expects to be traded would do.
Westbrook can actually control his future this offseason as he has a $47 million player option on his contract. That’s a large chunk of change and it’s likely the last big payday he’ll get in the NBA. Though he appeared unhappy for much of this season, nobody expects him to decline the option. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s looking like Westbrook has already decided what he’s going to do with his contract.
“Not only is [Ham] going to keep Russell Westbrook accountable as they move forward, but he’s going to hold the entire team accountable,” Wojnarowski said. “In his mind, that’s a step for this organization. Now, Russell Westbrook can opt into the final years of his contract at $47 million, he’s expected to do that at the end of the month, but Russell Westbrook is really enthusiastic in getting to know Darvin Ham so far and expects to talk a lot more with him about his role, how he fits into as they move through the summer towards training camp.”
Full report from Woj: pic.twitter.com/B3TWNkwMlS
— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) June 9, 2022
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Any Chance Westbrook Could Still Decline?
While this wasn’t a formal report on Westbrook from Wojnarowski, what he says is usually backed by a lot of insider knowledge. If he says the guard is expected to pick up his player option, it will most likely happen. The Lakers are saying all the right things about Westbrook right now but there’s no doubt they would be thrilled if he changed his mind and …read more