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Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is exercising his option to play for $47.1 million next season, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Tuesday.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in an interview with The Associated Press because neither Westbrook — the past NBA MVP and one of the 75 top players in league history — nor the Lakers have publicly disclosed the decision. ESPN first reported Westbrook’s decision.
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That’s certainly not surprising, considering Westbrook’s salary won’t be anywhere near $47.1 million this upcoming season if he chooses to become a free agent. He’ll be 34 next season, his 15th in the NBA.
Westbrook didn’t decide on the option until Wednesday, which will be the fifth and final season of his $207 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, the nine-time All-Star has been traveling — he was traded to Houston in 2019, Washington in 2020 and the Lakers in 2021.
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That created what should have been a great trio: Westbrook playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It didn’t go as planned. The Lakers have been plagued by injuries all season, missed the playoffs and fired head coach Frank Vogel after the season, with Westbrook taking most of the blame for what happened.
In 78 games with the Lakers, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. Only four other players — Denver’s two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia’s James Harden, Dallas’ Luka Doncic and San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray — have played this season The average grade at the end was higher than Westbrook’s average across all three data categories.
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But his scoring average is his lowest since the 2009-10 season, and his three-point percentage — 29.8 percent — ranks No. 2 among 278 NBA players with at least 100 attempts from beyond the arc this season 251.