Russell Westbrook will reportedly remain under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers after picking up his $47.1 million player option for 2022-23, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Despite a disappointing 2021-22 season, Westbrook indicated he wanted another shot at competing with the Lakers alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
"I mean, that’s the plan," he told reporters in April before head coach Frank Vogel was fired. "But nothing is promised. You kinda gotta take one day at a time, each day. And like I’ve said all season long, you gotta play the cards you’re dealt. Yes, we want to be able to see what that looks like, what that entails over the course of an 82-game season."
Injuries kept Davis and James off the court for long stretches of the season as the squad finished 33-49, ranking 11th in the Western Conference and outside the play-in tournament.
With their Big Three under contract for next season, the Lakers could have another chance to see if this team can be a contender as constructed.
Los Angeles could also still move Westbrook—either in a trade or a buyout—going into 2022-23 with a fresh start after a poor season.
The nine-time All-Star came to the Lakers last offseason in a trade that sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to the Washington Wizards. He made 78 starts in his first year with the team, averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.
Westbrook's efficiency was still a problem. He finished with just 1.7 win shares and a 0.2 value over replacement player, per Basketball Reference, each the worst of his 14-year NBA career.
The Lakers were 3.6 points per 100 possessions worse when Westbrook was on the court compared to off it.
While the 33-year-old gets his guaranteed money for 2022-23, his NBA future remains a question mark.