If Russell Westbrook is going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, it will have to be by way of a trade.
Westbrook has decided to exercise his $47.1 million player option for the 2022-23 season, according to multiple reports. The star point guard had until Wednesday to pick up the option, and he was widely expected to do so.
Coming off a season in which he was benched multiple times for poor play and blamed for much of the Lakers’ struggles, there was virtually no way the Westbrook was going to leave more than $47 million on the table. Now, the question is whether trading the 33-year-old will be possible.
Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in his first season with the Lakers. He looked to be a poor fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the Lakers will have to find a team that is equally desperate to unload big contracts if they want to trade Westbrook. That will be no easy task, though one team may have legitimate interest in the nine-time All-Star.