Russell Westbrook has made a final decision with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to CBS Sports, the NBA superstar is opting into the final year and the $47 million left on his contract. Westbrook made the decision one day before the deadline and will be with the Lakers for the 2022-23 season as of now. If Westbrook opted out, he would have lost tens of millions of dollars since no team would have signed him to the $47 million he is set to make this year.
Westbrook, 33, is coming off the worst season of his NBA career, averaging just 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. His struggles were one of the reasons the Lakers missed the playoffs for the second time in four years. In April, Westbrook opened up to reporters about his struggles during the season.
"When I first got here and just being a person that, unfortunately, people create narratives of me and who I am and what I do, what I believe in that are just not true," Westbrook said, per New York Post. "I'm always having to, like, prove myself again year after year after year which is, to me, just unfair, there's really no reason I have to do that. So, when I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be able to help this team."
Westbrook also took responsibility for his performance. "There were conversations, where I may have felt like what I bring to this team, and my abilities to better help the team win may not been in the cards of kind of how the coach wanted to play… I knew coming here, I would have to make the bigger sacrifice of anywhere [in any situation in my career]," Westbrook said. "I'm big on putting a ton of pressure on myself coming into any situation. Just my play in general, not my best season, just going off my own personal scale because that's the only thing I go off of regardless of the season."
Westbrook was traded to the Lakers after spending the 2020-21 season with the Washington Wizards. He played for the Houston Rockets during the 2019-20 season but spent the majority of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder where he became a star. In his career, Westbrook was selected to the All-Star game nine times, the All-NBA team nine times and won the MVP award in 2017.