Former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook plans to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers after completing a contract buyout with the Utah Jazz, his agent, Jeff Schwatz of Excel Sports, confirmed to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday (February 20).
Westbrook, 34, is owed the remaining $47 million of his expiring deal from the Jazz, who acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers last Wednesday (February 15). The Long Beach native will clear waivers prior to signing with the Clippers, according to Wojnarowski.
Clippers team officials, including head coach Ty Lue and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, dug into a series of conservations with Westbrook, which centered around the former NBA MVP's willingness to fill a specific role with the team focused on his playmaking, rebounding and toughness, sources with knowledge of the situation told Wojnarowski.
The move will reunite Westbrook with All-Star forward Paul George, his former teammate for two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook had reportedly also considered signing with the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat prior to deciding to remain in his hometown and playing a role in the Clippers' championship quest, sources confirmed to Wojnarowski.
Westbrook was included in a three-team trade last Wednesday following a tumultuous tenure with the Lakers. The veteran guard embraced a sixth-man role recently and has averaged 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 28.7 minutes per game during the 2022-23 NBA season.
Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, general manager Justin Zanik and head coach Will Hardy had reportedly told Westbrook that he was welcome to join the team, however, would be prioritizing younger players and made no guarantees regarding his playing time or role, according to sources.
Westbrook won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2017 and is a nine-time NBA All-Star (2011-13, 2015-20), as well as a two-time NBA scoring champion (2015, 2017) and three-time NBA assists leader (2018, 2019, 2021).