After completing a contract buyout, nine-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook plans to sign with the LA Clippers, his Excel Sports agent Jeff Schwartz told ESPN.
Once Westbrook and the Utah Jazz complete taking over the remaining $47 million from his expiring contract, the former NBA MVP will clear the waivers and return to Los Angeles – this time with the Clippers.
The Clippers became increasingly interested in Westbrook as team officials, including coach Ty Lue and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, delved into a series of discussions with Westbrook, sources said. Those discussions centered on Westbrook’s willingness to have a clear and specific role with the Clippers based on his playmaking, rebound and toughness, sources said.
Westbrook, 34, joins a Clippers core that has championship ambitions and also includes former Thunder teammate Paul George.
Westbrook had been discussing deals with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat in recent days, but the chance to fight for a championship and stay in Los Angeles played a major role in his decision to choose the Clippers, said sources.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Westbrook and a first-round draft pick from 2027 to the Jazz in a three-team deal on Wednesday. After a turbulent plus season with the Lakers, Westbrook took time to decompress and consider his options. Westbrook took on the role of sixth man for the Lakers, averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 28.7 minutes per game.
Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, GM Justin Zanik and coach Will Hardy told Westbrook on Friday that they would welcome him reporting to the team, but the organization is prioritizing and playing their younger players and they would not make any commitments on minutes or role size, said sources.