After completing a contract buyout, nine-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook plans to sign with the LA Clippers, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports.
With Westbrook and the Utah Jazz finalizing the buyout on the remaining $47 million owed on his expiring deal, the former NBA MVP will return to Los Angeles — this time with the Clippers. He was officially waived by the Jazz on Monday afternoon, the league announced.
The Clippers became increasingly interested with Westbrook as team officials, including coach Ty Lue and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, dug into a series of conversations with Westbrook, sources said. Those discussions centered on Westbrook’s willingness to fit into a clear and specific role with the Clippers built around his playmaking, rebounding and toughness, sources said.
Westbrook, 34, joins a Clippers core that has championship aspirations and includes his former Thunder teammate Paul George.
Westbrook had discussed deals with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat in recent days, but the chance to compete for a championship and remain in Los Angeles played a significant part in his decision to choose the Clippers, sources said.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Westbrook and a 2027 first-round draft pick to the Jazz as part of a three-team deal Wednesday. After a tumultuous season-plus with the Lakers, Westbrook took time to decompress and consider his possibilities. Westbrook embraced a sixth-man role 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 was prioritizing and playing its younger players and would make no assurances on minutes or role size, sources said.
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