According to reports, Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers is expected to opt into the final year of his contract worth $47.1 million.

Russell Westbrook appears to be out of free agency in one of the more obvious moves of the 2022 offseason. The former MVP has a $47.1 million player option and is “expected” to exercise it, according to ESPN. While Westbrook has time to make a final decision, Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned the expectation that he will opt in during a segment about his enthusiasm for new Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham, so it appears to be a fairly safe assumption for the time being.

In 2016, Westbrook agreed to a supermax contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. That contract began in 2017-18, but he has technically spent each season of it with a different team. He began with the Thunder and then spent a season with each of the Rockets, Wizards, and Lakers. That extension included the option that Westbrook is now expected to exercise.

Purchasing the option does not guarantee that Westbrook will be a Laker the following season. They could still trade him, and given his status as an expiring contract, other teams with longer contracts to offload may be interested. However, all reports indicate that the Lakers are unwilling to attach draft picks to move Westbrook. This will make negotiations with teams eager to take advantage of the desperate Lakers more difficult.

Last season was Westbrook’s worst in his career. He made little effort to adapt his playing style to a roster that required defense and cutting rather than reckless shooting and a high turnover rate. While other teams may be able to find value in Westbrook’s declining skill set, this move would be a financial no-brainer for him. No NBA team would be willing to pay him $47.1 million next season. Once he exercises his option, the Lakers have no say in the matter.