Russell Westbrook takes biggest-ever pay cut in NBA history to stay with Clippers

Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook

Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 .

After a turbulent few years, NBA legend Russell Westbrook has decided that he’s finally found a home with the LA Clippers and has demonstrated his enthusiasm by taking the league’s biggest-ever pay cut to ensure that he can stay there.

While his career has been a long and storied one, Westbrook hasn’t enjoyed the best form or stability in recent seasons, he has endured a tough time on the books at the LA Lakers and this year alone was briefly traded to Utah Jazz before buying out his contract and moving to the Clippers.

He became a free agent this summer and has decided that staying with the Clippers is his best option at this time, even at the cost of a huge pay cut. Last season he was getting paid $47 million a year, but has accepted a two-year deal earning him around $4 million a season, though with career earnings so far of $339 million so far, Westbrook is unlikely to struggle for cash on his new salary.

Even so, it’s still the biggest pay cut in the NBA ever, ahead of Blake Griffin from last summer when he went from $32m a year to the veteran’s minimum salary of $2m to join Boston Celtics.

Reborn at the Clippers

So far the Clippers and Westbrook have been a good match for each other, with 21 starts and an average of 23.6 points per game during their NBA Playoffs first round series against the Phoenix Suns. Having made just three starts in 52 appearances for the Lakers earlier in the season, this has a big turnaround for him.

He added speed and rim pressure for the Clippers offense and played a hugely important role when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard got injured. He’ll hope to keep that starting role next season – particularly having taken a huge pay cut to stay – still feeling like he has a lot to contribute even at the age of 34.

Westbrook is a nine-time NBA All-Star, former MVP Award winner and is considered one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, having been one of only two players to average a triple-double for a season in 2017 and becoming the player with the most career triple-doubles.

Turbulent times for Westbrook

Between 2008 and 2019 he was a star performer for Oklahoma City Thunder, winning most of his awards during this time, but has had a rocky time since. Spells at Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards were all-too-brief and by the time he arrived at the Lakers in August 2021 he was on his fourth team in three years.

Moving to the Clippers reunited him with former Oklahoma team-mate Paul George, who had lobbied the front office to add a point guard, so likely played a role in Westbrook’s arrival. 

There are rumors that they could be joined by another former team-mate in James Harden, who has played with Westbrook at both Oklahoma and Houston and has requested a trade away from the Philadelphia 76ers this summer, with the Clippers believed to be a likely destination. 

Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.

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