Lakers Fans Upset About LA's Future amid Rumors Russell Westbrook Opts in to Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 28, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

As expected, Russell Westbrook is set to exercise the $47.1 million player option in his contract to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2022-23 NBA season.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Westbrook's agent, Thad Foucher, is filing the paperwork Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's option deadline. It'll be the last season of the point guard's five-year, $206.8 million deal.

It was a no-brainer decision for the nine-time All-Star, who likely would have struggled to come anywhere close to that lucrative salary as a free agent this summer after a forgettable first season in L.A.

Yet, Lakers fans still vented their feelings about the outcome on social media:

trevor trout @totaltroutmove

Russ pulling up to the Lakers facility like a high school senior in the second semester.

Chad @ckwowzers

Guessing <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RussellWestbrook?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RussellWestbrook</a> never heard that if you love something, let it go. Opting in is going to kill the Lakers for another year. That team is set up for massive failure

Luke Liefeld @LiefeldLuke

If Russell Westbrook would’ve opted out and taken a reasonable deal I think we would’ve built him a statue outside Staples.

OviBron Kenobi @FriesianPaard

Westbrook returns to roster, Lakers return to mediocrity

Watch Purple & Gold @Lakers_PGN

We’re really gonna watch THT reach all-star potential on another team because of Russell Westbrook and Rob Pelinka 🤬🤬 <a href="https://t.co/Q3iXlrXaBF">https://t.co/Q3iXlrXaBF</a>

🏆LakersGuru🏆 @GuruLakers

One thing that’s clear this morning. Idk if Russ wants to be here or play for these fans anymore. The feeling appears to be very much reciprocal atp

br_betting @br_betting

Everyone that grabbed a Lakers future thinking they could get Kyrie but instead they're stuck with Westbrook <a href="https://t.co/TcFGgRqmy3">pic.twitter.com/TcFGgRqmy3</a>

The news comes one day after Kyrie Irving exercised his own player option to stay with the Brooklyn Nets after trade rumors linked him with a potential move to the Lakers.

Now, barring a blockbuster trade that includes a team willing to take on the final year of Westbrook's contract, L.A. will have to hope for a bounce-back season from the 2016-17 MVP, who ranked 232nd out of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight's WAR this past season.

The Lakers still have plenty of work to do during the offseason as they attempt to rebuild the roster around the trio of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

James also has one year left on his deal, while Davis has two seasons remaining before an early-termination option, so a crucial stretch is on the horizon for L.A.

If the 2020 champions don't return to title contention quickly, a full-scale rebuild could be on the horizon.