NBA News: Russell Westbrook Remains Undecided On $47 Million Player Option With LA Lakers

Russell Westbrook playing for the Lakers
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JB Baruelo

Playing for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers, turned into a major disaster for veteran point guard Russell Westbrook. Despite teaming up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, Westbrook was still unable to capture his first Larry O'Brien Trophy, and he even missed the playoffs in the 2021-22 NBA season. Since they got eliminated from playoff contention, rumors have been swirling around Westbrook and his future with the Lakers.

With all the things that happened in his first year in Los Angeles, some people are wondering if Westbrook and the Lakers will continue their partnership next season.

Russell Westbrook On $47 Million Player Option

Russell Westbrook attending a Mountain Dew event
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When the season is officially over, Westbrook will need to decide whether he will opt into the final year of his contract or not. With $47 million on the table, most people believe that opting in should be a no-brainer for the former MVP. However, in a recent interview with reporters, Westbrook said that he remains undecided about his contract situation.

“I haven’t thought that far into anything,” Westbrook said. “Like I always tell you guys, I lean big on my faith, and with that, I can never go wrong... My job is to make sure I come into work, be professional, be a good person more than anything. (If I) continue doing that and everything else will kind of play out.”

Rob Pelinka On Russell Westbrook's Future

Rob Pelinka taking a picture with his wife
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In his exit interview, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was asked several interesting questions, including their plan for Westbrook this summer. Pelinka said that they would start discussing Westbrook's future with the team once he makes a decision regarding his player option.

“As far as his future, part of that is in his control. First thing’s first, he has a player option. I’m sure he’ll sit down with his agent and have discussions around that, and like any player, we’ll partner with him after that decision is made about what’s best for his future.”

Ideal Scenario For LA Lakers

Russell Westbrook holding the ball
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The best-case scenario for the Lakers is for Westbrook to opt out of the final year of his contract in the 2022 NBA offseason. This would release them from the burden of paying him a huge amount of money in the 2022-23 NBA season. Also, with Westbrook's lucrative contract already off their books, the Lakers could open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space that they could use to sign quality free agents who would help James and Davis carry the team next season.

Trade Awaits Russell Westbrook Once He Opts In

Russell Westbrook shooting the ball
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In the scenario that Westbrook opts into the final year of his contract, the Lakers are expected to immediately find a way to trade his expiring deal. With how his first season wearing the Purple and Gold played out, it's highly unlikely for the Lakers to keep Westbrook on their roster for another season. In the past months, the Lakers have already been linked to several NBA teams that could be willing to absorb Westbrook and his massive salary. Some of the potential landing spots for Westbrook this summer include the Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, and the Indiana Pacers.