Despite the trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz earlier this month, the former MVP seemingly won’t have to look for new property to buy.
That’s because he is reportedly planning to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he finalizes a contract buyout with the 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
It is perhaps not a shocking development, as the Clippers were considered to be suitors very early on, but it is still a newsworthy situation.
Westbrook will now join the Los Angeles Lakers’ local rivals who share an arena with them. Beyond that, Westbrook’s chances of making the playoffs have also improved dramatically.
The Clippers are currently the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.
When it comes to the team, it looks like the Clippers’ interest in Westbrook grew as they learned more about what he’d be willing to do in his role.
“The Clippers became increasingly interested with Westbrook as team officials, including coach Ty Lue and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, dug into a series of conversations with Westbrook, sources said,” Adrian Wojnarowski wrote for ESPN. “Those discussions centered on Westbrook’s willingness to fit into a clear and specific role with the Clippers built around his playmaking, rebounding and toughness, sources said.”
Westbrook has certainly shown a willingness to be flexible to try to help his team this season. For the first time in his storied NBA career, the nine-time All-Star has worked primarily off the bench.
His willingness to do so and ability to produce from that role seemingly made him a more attractive target for teams across the league.
In fact, it looks like Westbrook spoke with a lot of other suitors before finally landing on the Clippers as his preferred destination.
“Westbrook had discussed deals with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat in recent days, but the chance to compete for a championship and remain in Los Angeles played a significant part in his decision to choose the Clippers, sources said,” Wojnarowski added.
Westbrook will now join a team that is talented and deep. Of course, the Clippers are lead by the two-headed monster of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. That does not figure to change anytime soon.
With the Lakers in the 2022-23 season, Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 boards per game. That kind of production is surely going to come in handy for the Clippers down the stretch.
Once the deal is done, Westbrook will undoubtedly be looking forward to April 5. That game will be one of the last of the regular season for the Clippers and pit the two L.A. teams against one another.
Westbrook will surely be licking his chops for some revenge in that matchup.