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Russell Westbrook Exercises His $47 Million Option For This Season

Russell Westbrook will make an absurd amount of money next season for the Lakers. What occurs next, though?

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Over the course of his career, Russell Westbrook has endured a great deal of criticism. It’s simple to judge the star guard because of the way that people refer to him as “Westbrick” or because the media occasionally questions his judgment. But over Westbrook’s 14 years in the NBA, two things have remained constant: he has some terrific interview soundbites, and he plays with a lot of heart.

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Image by Katelyn Mulcahy for Getty

Westbrook was named NBA MVP in 2017 and has nine times been selected to the All-Star squad. He played for the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards before signing with the Lakers after spending 11 seasons in Oklahoma City. The squad had a difficult year before, going 33-49 and missing the playoffs. After averaging a triple-double in four of the previous five seasons, Westbrook had more modest averages last year, including 18.5 points per game — his lowest PPG average since his second season in the league.

With Westbrook opting into the final year of his contract, the Lakers now have $145 million committed to just five players for the upcoming season, including LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That doesn’t leave much room for other desperately needed roster changes.

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The Lakers might still try to trade for Westbrook despite the opt-in. The biggest obstacle is his massive salary — very few other players are making anywhere near what Westbrook is, so a team would have to offer multiple players or bring in a third team to pull off a deal.

When this season concludes, Westbrook will be 34 years old. Next summer, he might not be in line for a max contract, so it’s smart to take the $47.1 million now. And who knows if the Lakers can remain healthy and work together well this season. Perhaps Westbrook will exchange that cash for a championship ring.