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Lakers GM: Russell Westbrook will have to be defense-first player if he comes back to Lakers

Russell Westbrook
Photo: Los Angeles Lakers/YouTube

Russell Westbrook will have to completely change his approach to the game if he is to remain on the Lakers for another year. The former NBA MVP has yet to decide on whether to exercise his player option which would earn him $47 million next season.

According to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, Russ is yet to announce his decision, but should he choose to come back for another year, he will have to take on a defense-first role.

“Russ has a decision to make about his option. He earned that in his contract just with his play and when he negotiated that contract originally,” Pelinka said. I think Darvin [Ham] and I have had meetings with Russ and have just been honest about how we think he fits with this team and what we expect of him next year if he decided to opt in and be here.

“He’s ready to embrace philosophy of defense-first as well and he’s made that clear to Darvin and me. If he chooses to come back. But he hasn’t given a final decision on that yet. He has more days to figure all that out with his family. But if he comes back, he will be embraced here with open arms and want to put a path in front of him to have a successful season.”

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