Lakers Superstar Makes Final Call on Future With Team: Report

russell westbrook lebron james

Getty Russell Westbrook & LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It’s been an exciting week for the Los Angeles Lakers but their high hopes could be getting crushed. For a brief moment, it looked like Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving could opt out of his contract and sign with the team for a massive discount. He decided to opt in and commit to the team for the upcoming season. While anything is still possible, it’s difficult to see how the Lakers could trade him.

Now that Irving isn’t much of an option, attention shifted towards Russell Westbrook who also has a player option on his contract. Nobody believed he would turn down the $47.1 million he’s due next season but there’s no doubt the Lakers would’ve been thrilled if he did. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Westbrook isn’t going anywhere.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook is planning to inform that team that he will be exercising his option for the 2022-2023 season.

This move ties Westbrook to the Lakers for this upcoming season unless they attempt to buy him, waive him or find a trade partner. All of those options are becoming increasingly unlikely.

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Lakers Counting on Westbrook to Improve

Behind closed doors, the Lakers have been trying to trade Westbrook for months. However, in the media, the team has been playing nice. New head coach Darvin Ham has said that he’s planning to coach Westbrook and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has recently said the team would embrace the guard if he exercised his option.

Wojnarowski is reporting the Lakers are planning on having Westbrook back and believe that he can turn things around.

“The Lakers are counting on Westbrook to have a comeback season under new coach Darvin Ham, whom Westbrook has told ESPN that he’s been enthusiastic about getting to know in recent weeks,” Wojnarowski wrote.

There wasn’t a lot from last season that indicated Westbrook can make things work next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis but with options limited, the Lakers appear ready to simply hope for the best.

What’s Next for Lakers?

Now that Westbrook is officially exercising his option, the Lakers can actually trade him. That’s easier said than done. With John Wall accepting a buyout, the Houston Rockets no longer appear to be an option. The Charlotte Hornets could be interested but the Lakers would have to take bad contracts in return.

The best scenario that Los Angeles can hope for is that Irving becomes such a headache for Brooklyn that they just want him off the team. That would open the door for a Westbrook for Irving swap. The Lakers could throw in a pick so the Nets get something out of the deal. the scenario is still unlikely but never underestimate Irving’s ability to become a nuisance. It’s possible that other options arise in the coming months but the Lakers may be forced to roll with Westbrook this season and then have a treasure chest of salary cap space heading into the 2023-2024 season.

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