NBA: Lakers’ Russell Westbrook exercising $47.1M option—report

Feb 27, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) as he shoots for a basket in the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook will exercise his $47.1 million player option and return to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2022-23 season, ESPN and The Athletic reported Tuesday.

The nine-time All-Star point guard and 2016-17 Most Valuable Player is entering the final season of a five-year, $206 million contract.

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Westbrook, 33, was facing a Wednesday deadline to opt-in with the Lakers and new head coach Darvin Ham.

In his first season in Los Angeles in 2021-22, Westbrook didn’t mesh well with ex-coach Frank Vogel and became a target of fans as injuries pulled apart the veteran-laden roster. Westbrook posted his lowest scoring average since 2009-10 and the Lakers (33-49) missed the playoffs.