Westbrook exercises $47.1M option

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Westbrook exercises $47.1M option

 BeijingCALIFORNIA: It was announced Tuesday that Russell Westbrook would return to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2022-23 after he exercised his $47.1 million player option, ESPN and The Athletic reported.

It’s the final year of a five-year, $206 million contract for the nine-time All-Star point guard and 2016-17 Most Valuable Player. He is entering his final season.

To avoid missing a deadline with the Lakers and their new coach Darvin Ham, Westbrook, 33, had until Wednesday to decide whether or not to sign on with them.

With injuries ravaging the veteran-laden Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup in 2021-22, Westbrook became a target of disgruntled Lakers’ supporters. This was Russell Westbrook’s worst season since 2009-10, and the Lakers finished the season with a record of 33-49.

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The Lakers hope that Russell Westbrook and his co-stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis will have a bounce-back season next season.

The meetings between Westbrook and Ham, according to GM Rob Pelinka, focused on the team’s goal for Westbrook as an off-ball guard, he said last week. To Ham’s credit, Pelinka also highlighted that Westbrook agreed with the team’s decision to prioritize defense.

NBA scoring champion Russell Westbrook averaged 18.5 points per game, 7.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists over the course of 78 games last season. In 1,021 games (1,000 starts) with the Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-19), Houston Rockets (2019-20), Washington Wizards (2020-21), and Los Angeles Lakers, he has averaged 22.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 8.4 assists.

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