Report: Russell Westbrook expected to exercise $47M player option with Lakers

Russell Westbrook at New Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Darvin Ham is introduced to the media
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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At one point, Russell Westbrook returning to the Lakers next season was deemed impossible.

Not only did the Lakers’ have problems with Westbrook, he appeared unhappy both on and off the court. Whatever joy he took from being home in Los Angeles with family had seemingly run thin.

But he’s not a fool.

With a $47,063,478 player option for next season, Westbrook will stay under contract with the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Russell Westbrook can opt into the final year of his contract at 47 million dollars. He’s expected to do that at the end of the month.

Westbrook, 33, will almost certainly never draw such a high salary again. His athleticism and, therefore, overall play are declining. As much has been made about his fit issues with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook is just no longer the same caliber of player he was when drawing this deal five years ago.

The Lakers reportedly won’t waive or include a first-round pick to trade Westbrook. Which means keeping him.

It’ll be on new Lakers coach Darvin Ham to optimize Westbrook. At least Ham sounds very enthusiastic about confronting the challenge, as difficult as it will be.