After a rocky start to the 2021-22 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Russell Westbrook appears to be showing signs of slow but steady change.
Through 24 games, he averages 20.3 points, 8.6 assists, 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 4.6 turnovers on shots of 44.6 / 32.0 / 68.4. His turnover and shooting division averages have taken a big step in the right direction compared to his numbers throughout the 15 games of the season.
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By acquiring Westbrook, who was in his five-year veteran designated player extension that he signed in 2017, the Lakers formed a Big 3 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, all of whom are making more than $ 35 million.
Given the NBA’s salary cap of $ 112.4 million, the franchise was forced to rally the supporting cast around its Big 3 with salaries very 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 2016-17 NBA league MVP is the fourth (and possibly last) year of his contract with a player option for the 2022-23 season.
Throughout the four years of his contract thus far, Westbrook has played on four different teams: one season each for the Thunder, Rockets, Wizards and now, the Lakers.
Here’s a look at their salaries over the course of their current five-year extension, according to Spotrac:
|2018-19||29||Oklahoma city thunder||$ 35,654,150|
|2019-20||30||Houston Rockets||$ 38,506,482|
|2020-21||31||Washington wizards||$ 41,358,814|
|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, behind only Stephen Curry, James Harden and John Wall.
MORE: The NBA’s Highest Paid Players for the 2021-22 Season
It was the acquisition of 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 pick in the 2021 NBA draft).
If Westbrook chose his player option for the final year of his contract, regardless of franchise, his salary for the 2022-23 season would be $ 47,063,478. That would rank him third among the league’s highest-paid players for next season, behind only Curry and Wall.