Guard Russell Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, intends to join with the LA Clippers after completing a contract buyout, according to his agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, who spoke to ESPN.
The former NBA MVP will return to Los Angeles, this time with the Clippers, after Westbrook and the Utah Jazz successfully completed the buyout of the remaining $47 million owing on his expiring contract. The Jazz formally released him on Monday afternoon, the league said.
According to reports, as club executives, like as coach Ty Lue and head of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, delved into a series of talks with Westbrook, the Clippers became more and more interested in him. According to insiders, the focus of those negotiations was Westbrook’s readiness to play a clear and defined position with the Clippers that was based around his playmaking, rebounding, and toughness.
The 34-year-old Westbrook joins a Clippers core that includes his former Thunder colleague Paul George and has championship hopes.
According to reports, Westbrook had recently discussed agreements with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Washington Wizards, but his choice to sign with the Clippers was mostly influenced by the opportunity to contend for a championship while staying in Los Angeles.
As part of a three-team transaction on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers sent Westbrook and a 2027 first-round draught selection to the Jazz. Following a turbulent season and a half with the Lakers, Westbrook took some time to unwind and think about his options. In 28.7 minutes per game, Westbrook played the sixth man for the Lakers, averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists.
According to sources, Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, General Manager Justin Zanik, and Coach Will Hardy informed Westbrook on Friday that they would welcome him to report to the team but that they were prioritising and playing their younger players and would not provide any guarantees regarding minutes or role size.