August 8, 2022

It nonetheless isn’t sure if Russell Westbrook desires to return to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2022-2023 NBA season. The purpose guard hasn’t but opted-in to the ultimate 12 months of his contract.

Westbrook has till June 29 to both decide up his $47 million participant choice or develop into a free agent. 

“He hasn’t given a remaining determination on that but,” Lakers Normal Supervisor Rob Pelinka mentioned Thursday after the NBA Draft. “He has extra days to determine all that out along with his household. But when he comes again, he might be embraced right here with open arms and wish to put a path in entrance of him to have a profitable season.”

It’s lengthy been assumed that Westbrook would select to play on the ultimate 12 months of his deal. Westbrook is ready to be the fourth-highest paid participant subsequent season. He wouldn’t get anyplace near $47 million per 12 months on the open market.

Solely Stephen Curry, John Wall and James Harden are set to make greater than Westbrook subsequent season. Wall instructed the Washington Wizards two days earlier than the draft that he was selecting up his $47.4 million choice, according to The Athletic.

Regardless of the delay, Westbrook remains to be anticipated to train his participant choice. That doesn’t essentially imply that Westbrook will stay on the Lakers’ roster, given how poorly final season went and rumors that Los Angeles has tried to commerce the veteran.

Whereas Anthony Davis and LeBron James battled accidents throughout the 2021-2022 season, Westbrook was the one fixed within the Lakers’ beginning lineup. Westbrook’s 78 begins had been 22 greater than every other participant on the group. Los Angeles completed with a disappointing 33-49 file and didn’t even make the play-in match.

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Westbrook averaged 18.5 factors, 7.4 rebounds and seven.1 assists per sport. The 2017 NBA MVP shot 3.4 three-pointers per sport and solely made 29.8% of these makes an attempt. Westbrook was a part of the NBA’s Twenty first-ranked protection, only one 12 months after the group had the NBA’s greatest defensive effectivity.

The Lakers changed Frank Vogel with first-time head coach Darvin Ham. If Lakers’ administration is unable to unload Westbrook’s contract, the group seems more likely to scale back the guard’s function within the upcoming season.

“We’ve been trustworthy about how we expect he suits with this group and what we count on of him subsequent 12 months if he decides to decide in and be right here,” Pelinka mentioned. “He’s able to embrace the philosophy of protection first as effectively. He made that clear to Darvin and me if he chooses to come back again.”

NBA free company begins on June 30.

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers in motion throughout the first half of a sport towards the Utah Jazz at Vivint Sensible House Area on March 31, 2022 in Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah. Photograph: Alex Goodlett/Getty Photos

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