After a tough start to the 2021-22 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Russell Westbrook seems to be slowly but surely showing signs of a turnaround.
Through 24 games, he’s averaging 20.3 points, 8.6 assists, 8.0 rebounds,1.3 steals and 4.6 turnovers on shooting splits of 44.6/32.0/68.4. His turnover averages and shooting splits have taken a huge step in the right direction as compared to his numbers through the 15 games of the season.
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Acquiring Westbrook, who was on his five-year designated player veteran extension that he signed in 2017, the Lakers formed a Big 3 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis – all of whom are earning upwards of $35 million.
Given the NBA’s salary cap of $112.4 million, the franchise was forced to assemble the supporting cast around their Big 3 on salaries awfully close to the minimum.
How much are the Lakers paying Russell Westbrook?
The Lakers are paying Russell Westbrook a salary of $44,211,146 for the 2021-22 season. The NBA’s 2016-17 league MVP is the fourth (and possibly final) year of his contract with a player option for the 2022-23 season.
Through the four years of his contract so far, Westbrook has played on four different teams – one season for each of the Thunder, Rockets, Wizards and now, the Lakers.
Here’s a look at his salaries over the course of his current five-year extension, as per Spotrac:
|2018-19||29||Oklahoma City Thunder||$35,654,150|
|2021-22||32||Los Angeles Lakers||$44,211,146|
Westbrook’s salary of $44,211,146 for the 2021-22 season is the fourth-highest in the NBA, trailing only Stephen Curry, James Harden and John Wall.
MORE: NBA’s highest-paid players for 2021-22 season
It was acquiring this inflated salary that forced the Lakers to send as many players as they did for Westbrook.
As part of a larger five-team trade deal, the Lakers shipped Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope along with the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson (22nd overall pick, 2021 NBA Draft).
If Westbrook were to pick up his player option for the final year of his contract, irrespective of the franchise, his salary for the 2022-23 season would be $47,063,478. That would rank him third on the league’s highest-paid players for the next season, only trailing Curry and Wall.