Report: Russell Westbrook wary of the ‘stigma’ that comes with accepting a buyout

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook reportedly is wary of the “stigma” that comes with accepting a buyout from his contract.

Westbrook and the Lakers reportedly have mutual interest in parting ways this coming offseason. One way a split between the two sides could occur is if Westbrook and the Lakers agree to a buyout. However, it doesn’t seem like that’s on the table right now.

“One option: Westbrook considering a buyout of the final year of his contract, but at least for now, sources close to the 2017 MVP expressed pessimism he would do that,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wrote.

“Westbrook is a prideful man. His swagger is both his sword and his shield, and he will not lay them down lightly. He is wary of the stigma that comes with accepting a buyout, one source close to him explained. But he also still believes he can contribute to a team at a high level.”

The former MVP has struggled during the 2021-22 season, as he’s never really meshed with the Lakers roster. It has led to the team missing the playoffs this season.

Westbrook is currently averaging his fewest points per game since his second season in the NBA. Overall, he is recording 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 reportedly aren’t ruling out waiving Westbrook after this season via a waive-and-stretch provision. Such a move would basically turn Westbrook’s player option for next season into a three-year deal.

That would give the Lakers more financial flexibility this offseason, but they’d still be eating a large chunk of money just to get Westbrook off of their roster.

It seems like parting ways is what is best for both sides, but Westbrook is clearly mindful that accepting a buyout could hurt his value.

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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.