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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 spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Westbrook — a former NBA MVP and one of the league’s top 75 players of all time — nor the Lakers revealed the decision. publicly. ESPN first reported Westbrook’s decision.
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It certainly wasn’t a surprise, considering Westbrook wouldn’t have commanded nearly $47.1 million for the upcoming season had he opted to become a free agent. He will be 34 next season, his 15th in the NBA.
Westbrook had until Wednesday to decide on the option, which will make it the fifth and final season of a $207 million contract he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The nine-time All-Star has traveled extensively since – he was traded to Houston in 2019, traded to Washington in 2020 and transferred to the Lakers in 2021.
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This created what was supposed to be a great trio: Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It didn’t work as expected. The Lakers suffered injuries all season, missed the playoffs, fired coach Frank Vogel after the season, and Westbrook took much of the blame for what happened.
He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 78 games with the Lakers. Only four other players — reigning NBA two-time MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver, James Harden of Philadelphia, Luka Doncic of Dallas and Dejounte Murray of San Antonio — finished the season with higher averages than Westbrook in those three categories of statistics.
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But his scoring average was his lowest since 2009-10, and his 3-point percentage – 29.8% – ranked 251st out of 278 NBA players who attempted at least 100 shots from beyond the bow this season.