The recently acquired guard has been open in discussions about his future with the franchise.
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After the Jazz acquired Russell Westbrook in a multi-team trade that landed the Lakers D’Angelo Russell, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Westbrook would be bought out and become a free agent.
However, Westbrook has reportedly been open in discussions with the Utah front office about potentially remaining with the franchise for the rest of the season, according to a report from Tony Jones of The Athletic.
The Jazz have put the ball in Westbrook’s court in terms of his decision to remain with Utah or be bought out as anticipated to hit the free agent market. Utah has reportedly been transparent with Westbrook about where it is as a franchise, and informed him that his playing time would be sporadic as it looks to get their younger players minutes to evaluate their roles on the roster moving forward.
While the Jazz have not put a deadline on Westbrook’s decision, he will need to decide if he wants to play for a contender in the playoffs. If he does, he will need to reach a contract buyout and be on a playoff roster by March 1 to be eligible for postseason play.
If Westbrook decides to remain with the Jazz, he’ll likely sit on the bench, or even go home and simply collect a paycheck until he could be part of an offseason sign-and-trade deal, per Jones.
Westbrook came off the bench for most of the season with the Lakers, and emerged as a serious candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Despite the reported turmoil in the relationship between Westbrook and the Lakers, he played well this season in his role.
Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game on nearly 42% shooting.