Report: Lakers not ruling out waiving Russell Westbrook through waive-and-stretch provision

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are not ruling out waiving guard Russell Westbrook through the waive-and-stretch provision.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers may consider using this provision to help retain guard Malik Monk this offseason.

“A straight release of Westbrook that essentially transforms his mammoth player option for next season into what lives on their books as a three-year deal in the $15 million range annually would move the Lakers out of luxury-tax territory and make it far easier for them to retain free agent-to-be Malik Monk, who at times has unexpectedly appeared to be the Lakers’ most dependable player not named LeBron James throughout a nightmarish 31-48 campaign,” Stein wrote.

“Facilitating Monk’s return might be reason enough for the Lakers to go this route and is expected, league sources say, to be under consideration.”

Los Angeles traded for Westbrook last offseason, and the move has not gone as the team planned with the Lakers missing the postseason in the 2021-22 campaign.

Westbrook has struggled to fit in alongside LeBron James, and he is averaging just 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The Lakers had hoped Westbrook would be able to carry the load on nights where James or Anthony Davis were unable to play, but Los Angeles has gone just 6-17 without James and 14-25 without Davis this season.

The team is clearly high on Monk, who joined the Lakers this past offseason on a one-year deal. Monk is averaging 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from deep this season.

Waiving Westbrook would help the Lakers keep Monk on the roster, but it would also force the team to pay out Westbrook’s deal over three seasons as Stein mentioned.

It will be interesting to see how the Lakers proceed with Westbrook and his future with the franchise this offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.