Westbrook took over as the starting point guard after he signed with the Clippers in February and raised his value by averaging 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 21 games. Leroux speculates that there may not be another team willing to give him a starting role, although opportunities exist if he’s willing to be the first guard off the bench.
The Clippers would prefer to keep Westbrook, but without his Bird rights, they’re limited to an offer of 120% of the veteran’s minimum. Although L.A. could theoretically trim enough salary below the $179.5MM second apron to offer Westbrook the mid-level exception, that wouldn’t be a huge raise because it’s being lowered to $5MM in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Leroux suggests that owner Steve Ballmer could try to re-sign Westbrook with an unspoken understanding that he’ll get a bigger deal next summer when the team will have his Early Bird rights.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- The Kings are determined to bring Sasha Vezenkov to Sacramento next season, according to Christos Tsaltas of Sportal. High-ranking team officials traveled to Greece this season to watch Vezenkov in action and to learn more about his character and work habits. The Kings see Vezenkov as a back-up to Keegan Murray and believe they’re versatile enough to play together, Tsaltas adds.
- Miles Simon and John Lucas III are the latest additions to Frank Vogel‘s coaching staff with the Suns, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. Simon was the head coach of the South Bay Lakers in the G League, and they both worked under Vogel in L.A.
- New general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. was brought to the Warriors‘ management team by his former agent, Bob Myers, shortly after he retired as a player, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Myers hired Dunleavy as a scout in 2018, and he worked his way up through the organization. He has been taking on more of Myers’ duties over the past two years, including attending the league’s gatherings of general managers.
- The Lakers hosted six players for a pre-draft workout on Saturday, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. On hand were UConn’s Andre Jackson Jr., Stetson’s Sam Peek, Chattanooga’s Jake Stephens, Overtime Elite’s Jazian Gortman, Texas’ Timmy Allen and Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis. L.A. has the 17th and 47th picks in this year’s draft.