Russell Westbrook doesn’t have to leave Los Angeles after all. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the veteran guard plans to return to Crypto.com Arena and join the Los Angeles Clippers once everything is sorted out with his contract buyout with the Utah Jazz.
After finalizing a contract buyout with the Utah Jazz, nine-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook plans to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, his agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelbasketball tells ESPN. pic.twitter.com/OjZ0Mkuz5x
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 20, 2023
Utah acquired Westbrook ahead of the trade deadline, but the expectation was that the two sides would come to terms on a buyout that would allow the former NBA MVP to hit free agency and sign with a contender. Westbrook came to the Jazz after spending the year and a half with the Los Angeles Lakers, which sent him to Utah as part of the three-team deal that landed them Malik Beasley, D’Angelo Russell, and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Multiple Clippers players openly lobbied for the team to bring Westbrook on board after they overhauled their backcourt at the deadline — the team traded both Reggie Jackson and John Wall, and acquired Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland. Perhaps no player was more vocal about bringing in Westbrook than All-Star wing Paul George, who told the press “it would definitely improve our team if we had that traditional point guard to kind of get us in things and make the game easy.”
Westbrook saw his role change considerably with the Lakers this year, as he came off the bench in 49 of his 52 appearances this year. Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game.