Clippers’ Russell Westbrook May Reportedly Leave LA After Tough Season

Over the course of his NBA career, point guard Russell Westbrook has become a somewhat polarizing player. While he is a likely future Hall of Famer, Westbrook’s play style and inability to shoot the ball at a high rate have come under fire within this new NBA. The league is all about floor spacing and shooting ability now, leaving athletic players like Westbrook behind at different times.

While he can still be an impactful player at times, his days of being a star have long been over. Since his departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook has become more of a high-end journeyman. He has been with the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, and now Los Angeles Clippers in recent years. But heading into this offseason, he may be switching teams again.

Russell Westbrook
DALLAS, TEXAS – APRIL 28: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts in the second half of game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines…

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Following a failed season for the Clippers that resulted in them being knocked out in the first round, Westbrook has some big decisions to make. He holds a player option on his contract with Los Angeles for $4 million, but his struggles to find a consistent role as the Clippers’ sixth man may play into things. Sam Amick and Law Murray of The Athletic detailed the frustrations of Westbrook this past season, noting that he could reportedly look to go elsewhere this summer.

“Does the nine-time All-Star and former MVP want to continue in this kind of limited role while playing on a veteran’s minimum deal, or might he have played his way into a better opportunity elsewhere?” Amick and Murray asked. “Considering the challenges that came with him being relegated to a reserve role, with team and league sources indicating that the process was far more challenging behind the scenes than team officials had made it appear publicly, the answer may very well be the latter.”

Westbrook is best suited when the ball is in his hands and he can either take it to the hole or be a playmaker. However, the issue is that on a contending team, he isn’t going to be a star-level player any longer. He may be better suited to become the starting point guard for a team without title aspirations but his desire to win also could be too great. Amick and Law also noted that he hit some disturbing career-low numbers last year, which could impact his free agency.

“While Westbrook had no shortage of meaningful moments and impact this season, he averaged career lows in minutes (22.5 per game), points (11.1), and assists (4.5). He struggled mightily against Dallas, averaging just 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 26 percent from the field.”

He has won individual awards throughout his career, but never a title. Westbrook went to one NBA Finals back in 2012 but hasn’t been back since. Despite all his greatness, the shortcomings of his game will be remembered too. It’s unfortunate because he is one of the better point guards in NBA history but telling a story without its entirety can be tricky.