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Russell Westbrook Will Be Embraced by Lakers with ‘Initiate Arms’ If He Opts In, GM Says

Christian Vierig/Getty Photos

Los Angeles Lakers level guard Russell Westbrook has but to originate a resolution on his participant option for next season, but standard manager Rob Pelinka has made it sure that the group would welcome his return to the personnel.

“He hasn’t given a final resolution on that but,” Pelinka acknowledged after the NBA draft Thursday. “He has more days to figure all that out alongside with his family. But if he comes encourage, he’ll be embraced right here with beginning hands and ought to effect a direction in front of him to possess a winning season.”

Westbrook has a $47 million option for next season remaining on his contract, and he has till Wednesday to exercise whether or no longer to exercise it. Despite such an enormous salary-cap hit coupled with inconsistencies from last season, Los Angeles has consistently expressed a desire to place Westbrook in the fold.

The Lakers hired Darvin Ham as their next head coach to replace Frank Vogel, who used to be fired after the personnel accomplished 33-49 and didn’t originate the playoffs last season. Westbrook used to be in attendance for Ham’s introductory press conference, and Ham acknowledged he expects to possess the possess the nine-time All-Necessary person on his roster when Los Angeles opens the 2022-23 season.

“Russ and I had some in actuality, in actuality big one-on-one convos, man, and primarily the most provocative discover I feel got right here out of that, these discussions, used to be ‘sacrifice,'” Ham acknowledged. “I’m going to rely on of him to be the same tenacious, excessive-energy participant that he’s been all his complete profession.”

Westbrook performed a personnel-excessive 78 games for Los Angeles last season and averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. It used to be the first time he averaged under 20 points in a season since his 2d year in the NBA. The 33-year-primitive also struggled to make chemistry with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom ignored necessary time all year lengthy on account of accidents. The three of them performed most provocative 21 games collectively.

Pelinka added that if Westbrook does return, he’ll ought to desire into the personnel’s novel direction under Ham.

“We’ve been steady about how we predict he fits with this personnel and what we rely on of of him next year if he decides to opt in and be right here,” Pelinka acknowledged. “He’s ready to embody the philosophy of defense first as wisely. He made that sure to Darvin and me if he chooses to reach encourage encourage.”

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