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#pounditFriday, August 12, 2022

Russell Westbrook makes decision on his player option

Russell Westbrook with his arm out

Nov 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If Russell Westbrook is going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, it will have to be by way of a trade.

Westbrook has decided to exercise his $47.1 million player option for the 2022-23 season, according to multiple reports. The star point guard had until Wednesday to pick up the option, and he was widely expected to do so.

Coming off a season in which he was benched multiple times for poor play and blamed for much of the Lakers’ struggles, there was virtually no way the Westbrook was going to leave more than $47 million on the table. Now, the question is whether trading the 33-year-old will be possible.

Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in his first season with the Lakers. He was a poor fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the Lakers will have to find a team that is equally desperate to unload big contracts if they want to trade Westbrook. That will be no easy task, though one team may have legitimate interest in the nine-time All-Star.

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