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Nba: Westbrook exercises the contract option of 47 million with the Lakers

Russ has exercised the option for next season and therefore will stay in LA But he will have to give much more than last, disastrous, year

Russell Westbrook exercised the $ 47 million salary option and will play for the Los Angeles Lakers again next season. This is the last year of a 206 million five-year contract signed when he was still playing in Oklahoma City, where he wore the Thunder shirt for 11 seasons. Russ then played for Houston, Washington and the Lakers, in fact. Without finding a new permanent home.

russ perspective

He didn’t have many choices. Reasonable, at least. In the sense: giving up the option meant testing the market, but after a bad season he would never have had the opportunity to earn all that money in the medium term. Westbrook is a 9-time All Star, League MVP in 2017, despite a year to forget for personal performance and team results – the Lakers started with title expectations and didn’t even qualify for the playoffs – he still scored 18.5 points , pulled down 7.4 rebounds and fanned 7.1 assists per game. Russ is 33, he’s not finished. But he has to be more efficient. Point. He shot with percentages of less than 30% from 3 points, under 67% for free. Too little to dream big.

perspective lakers

Rumors of Los Angeles interest in Kyrie Irving, en route to Brooklyn, have been persistent. There are those who have hypothesized a Lakers offer with Westbrook inserted as a counterpart for the Nets. Then both Irving and Westbrook, who were both expiring their contracts, exercised their respective options by foreshadowing alternative scenarios. Westbrook was chosen as LeBron’s backup 12 months ago. He now he can’t throw it away like a shirt that got too tight after a wrong wash. Westbrook with coach Vogel never got in tune. But he said he was enthusiastic about Ham, the replacement, who spent good words for him. The Lakers, like it or not, have staked everything on the James-Davis-Russ trio who commit their salary space leaving crumbs to the supporting cast, which, that yes, will have changed. Westbrook, of the Big 3, was the only one who finished the season regularly on the pitch, playing 78 games for the Lakers. He was the last to surrender, even if with his head down with little clarity, when the Play-In still seemed possible, with LeBron and Davis in the infirmary, bruised once more. The Lakers will start from that: presence. LeBron is 37 years old, he can’t play 82 regular season games at his best and then the playoffs, Davis in his career has been stopped for a long time, ahilui, charming but fragile crystal. In 2021-22 together the three played just 21 times. 11-10 record, compared to 33-49 overall.

common perspective

Rob Pelinka, the yellow-violet general manager, said the Lakers expect Westbrook to make a primarily defensive contribution. He commands LeBron, but it is to be believed that he is a desired shared with the franchise man. Westbrook, an extraordinary athlete, entered the league as a great defender, he was even a specialist on that side of the pitch at UCLA, but over the years he has become a defender first average, then mediocre. He will be asked at least not to be an obvious defensive minus. In attack Russ and LeBron at this time in their respective careers go at two different speeds. Westbrook knows only one way to play: at the tablet, at a thousand per hour. James is sipping now, he prefers to attack in a deployed defense, to be dismantled with his timing. They are not perfect for playing together and never will. Because Russ doesn’t have the shot to punish the doubles on LeBron and he isn’t even a defender who can cover his back, but more can be done than we saw in the first season together. Westbrook can’t stay in a corner to try triple on exhausts, LeBron must try to trigger him in transition, when he knows how to be unstoppable. The renewed coexistence starts from an indispensable premise: if they decide to keep it and not sell it via trade, the Lakers must give Russ the utmost confidence. That he is a generous talent, who gives everything, but that he needs to feel appreciated, put at the center of the project and not badly tolerated in order to offer him the best of him. This is the first domino to make the Lakers work in the near future. Complicated as a starting point, yet now almost obligatory.

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