Former UCLA standout, Russell Westbrook, has made headlines once again by re-signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in a surprising move that left fans and analysts intrigued. Westbrook chose to stay in Los Angeles, joining forces with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the rest of the Clippers roster in their pursuit of an NBA championship.
The deal, a mere two-year contract worth $7.9 million, came as a shock to many, considering Westbrook earned $47 million in salary just last season. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that this new deal represents the largest pay cut in NBA history for a player signing a new contract.
Westbrook’s decision to sign with the Clippers followed a successful playoff run with the team. Despite facing criticism for his performance while playing for the Lakers, Westbrook’s move to the Clippers proved to be a game-changer for both the player and the team. With his composure and exceptional playmaking abilities, he filled a crucial void at point guard that the Clippers had been missing since the departure of Chris Paul several seasons ago.
During the regular season, Westbrook seemed to find his groove with the Clippers, enjoying more freedom on the court compared to his previous experiences with the Lakers and their demanding media market.
In the playoffs, Westbrook’s impact went beyond the box score. Despite shooting struggles in his first postseason appearance with the Clippers, he displayed tough defense and made clutch plays when it mattered most. One such game-changing play occurred when he emphatically rejected a late shot attempt from Devin Booker, leading to a crucial Game 1 victory against the Phoenix Suns.
With Kawhi Leonard sidelined due to a meniscus injury after Game 2, the Clippers relied heavily on Westbrook as the focal point of their offense. The former UCLA product delivered with consecutive 30-point performances, showcasing his determination to lead the team to victory.
Though the Clippers couldn’t secure wins in both games against the Suns at home, Westbrook’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the front office. The lower contract and reduced pressure on his shoulders could provide Westbrook with the perfect opportunity to further solidify his already remarkable career and, most importantly, capture that elusive NBA championship he has been yearning for.