Lakers ready to embrace Westbrook

2022-06-24T19:07:15+00:00 2022-06-24T19:07:15+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

24/Jun/22 19:07

The Los Angeles Lakers await a final decision from Russell Westbrook and expect him to be a defense-first player if he opts in

By Johnny Askounis/

Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka updated the status of Russell Westbrook noting that the experienced point guard has yet to inform the team of a final decision regarding the player option on his contract.

“We’ve been honest about how we think he fits with this team and what we expect of him next year if he decides to opt-in and be here,” said Pelinka echoing head coach Darvin Ham, “He’s ready to embrace the philosophy of defense-first as well, and he’s made that clear to Darvin and me if he chooses to come back. He has more days to figure all that out with his family. But if he comes back, he will be embraced here with open arms and want to put a path in front of him to have a successful season.”

Westbrook, 33, has a $47,063,478 player option for the 2022-23 season. He is expected to opt-in until next week, especially considering the amount of money in question. But skipping the option will turn him into an unrestricted free agent.

Traded to the Lakers during the 2021 offseason, it’s no secret things did not go well over the 2021-22 season. Delivering 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per contest were combined with turmoil mostly stemming from the Lakers on the path and actually missing the Playoffs.

With recent rumors linking the team to Kyrie Irving, this potential route likely leads Westbrook into a trade, if he indeed decides to extend his contract through the 2022-23 season.

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