The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook and three future second-rounders for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson.
One of the subjects that has been less talked about, however, is the move’s long-term viability. Will Westbrook ultimately end up retiring as a Laker?
That is a question the 32-year-old tackled head-on recently.
“My vision, in this league, you understand this is a business,” Westbrook said. “You just do your job, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. As far as the business side of basketball and figuring out where I will be, I wouldn’t imagine that I’ll be here three or four years ago. It’s just something that I can’t fathom.
“But while I’m here, I will compete in the best way I know how, give everything that I have and I’ll let the business side of basketball take care of that.”
Westbrook is currently in the midst of a five-year, $205 million contract extension he originally signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is going to make $44 million next season, and then he has a $47 million player option for 2022-23.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 15, 2021
Clearly many years and numerous franchises have jaded Westbrook a bit. He isn’t sure he will retire with the Lakers because, frankly, he hasn’t experienced a whole lot of stability over the past few seasons.
The Lakers have committed a lot to the notion that Westbrook will fit within the organization’s plans. They sacrificed a really talented player under the assumption that this little experiment will work.
Will that confidence ultimately be rewarded? Time will tell.