Clippers Faced ‘Challenges’ Dealing With Russell Westbrook; Likely To Part Ways

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA Rumors
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers’ offseason plans are taking shape after another shortened NBA postseason—this time caused by losing in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in their first-round series. The Clippers intend to focus on retaining most of their key players.

However, one notable exception is Russell Westbrook, who, according to The Athletic, is expected to decline his $4 million player option and enter NBA free agency. The Clippers had a tough time getting Westbrook to accept a bench role.

“Considering the challenges that came with him being relegated to a reserve role, with team and league sources indicating that the process was far more challenging behind the scenes than team officials had made it appear publicly, the answer may very well be the latter,” The Athletic reported.

Westbrook’s potential departure comes as no surprise, given his struggles during the postseason. He averaged a mere 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 19.0 minutes per game, shooting a dismal 26.0% from the floor, 23.5% from deep, and 61.5% on free throws. His lack of shooting prowess and defensive struggles made him a liability on the court.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, LA Clippers Updates

Despite his inconsistent performance, Westbrook’s passion and energy will likely attract interest from other teams that are offering more substantial contracts and roles. It remains to be seen if an NBA team out there is willing to give him a starting job at this stage of his career.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are prioritizing extensions for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and James Harden, as well as a potential contract extension for coach Tyronn Lue.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Russell Westbrook, LA Clippers Updates

With Westbrook’s expected exit, the Clippers must address their bench scoring and depth. They may look to free agency or trade options to fill the void left by the former MVP.

As the offseason unfolds, seeing how the Clippers choose to rebuild and retool around their core trio of Leonard, George, and Harden will be interesting.

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