Russell Westbrook is joining a Los Angeles Lakers rival. The one-time MVP’s agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that his client will sign with the Los Angeles Clippers after getting bought out by the Utah Jazz.
“After completing a contract buyout, nine-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook plans to sign with the LA Clippers, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told ESPN,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Once Westbrook and the Utah Jazz complete the buyout on the remaining $47 million owed on his expiring deal, the former NBA MVP will clear waivers and return to Los Angeles — this time with the Clippers. The Clippers became increasingly interested with Westbrook as team officials, including coach Ty Lue and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, dug into a series of conversations with Westbrook, sources said. Those discussions centered on Westbrook’s willingness to fit into a clear and specific role with the Clippers built around his playmaking, rebounding and toughness, sources said.”
The Lakers traded Westbrook to the Jazz as part of a three-team deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Los Angeles acquired D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Westbrook will reunite with Paul George on the Clippers. The two All-Stars were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder, who went 87-58 when Westbrook and George were in the lineup from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
Russell Westbrook Listened to Shaquille O’Neal
It appears that Westbrook listened to Lakers icon Shaquille O’Neal’s advice. O’Neal, who won three championships with the Lakers, told Candace Parker and Nischelle Turner that Westbrook should sign with the Clippers.
“I think Russ should go to the Clippers,” O’Neal said. “Him and Ty Lue speak the same language. The good thing about Ty Lue is he knows how to relate to some players. Ty Lue is going to put him in a position to succeed. Russ is the type of guy that you can’t control, but you don’t wanna control. … Russ is gonna give you the assists. He’s gonna give you energy. He’s gonna make some mistakes, but sometimes you just have to let him go. He’s not the player that you control.”
A future Hall of Famer and the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, Westbrook is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists this season while shooting 41.7% from the field, 29.6% from beyond the arc and 65.5% from the free-throw line.
Paul George Wanted Russell Westbrook
George said on February 10 that he wanted Westbrook on the Clippers. Both George and Kawhi Leonard spoke to Westbrook about forming a new Big 3 in Los Angeles.
“I mean if there’s somebody out there, Russell, if it makes sense and obviously it goes with our team, we’re all for it,” George said on February 10. “We need a point guard. But, (at) the same (time), I think we’re good as well. If nothing happened, we got enough in this locker room to be able to make it work. But it would definitely improve our team if we had that traditional point guard to kind of get us in things and make the game easy. So hopefully Russell sees this and we figure something out.”
The Clippers are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Meanwhile, the Lakers are in 13th place.