For now, Russell Westbrook is staying with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook has exercised his 47.1 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
ESPN Sources: Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook is planning to exercise his $47.1 million option to return to the franchise for the 2022-2023 season.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022
The news is hardly surprising, as the 33-year-old was not going to command anywhere close to that salary on the free-agent market.
Acquired by Los Angeles in a trade last offseason, Westbrook’s first year in purple and gold fell well short of expectations. Struggling to fit alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook averaged just 18.5 points per game, his lowest since his sophomore season. The Lakers would finish the regular season with an abysmal 33-49 record, missing the playoffs.
While head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka have discussed with Westbrook what his role will be in year two, the team has also made it no secret they are shopping the former league MVP in an effort to bring Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving to Los Angeles.
Despite Westbrook’s decision to opt-in, his standing with the organization appears tenuous at best.
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Lakers at +2400 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA Championship.