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It seems like the Lakers may be trending away from trading Russell Westbrook, but that doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be on the move.
Since moving to the bench, things have stabilized a bit for Russell Westbrook and the Lakers. They’ve won nine of their last 15 games and Westbrook has averaged 14.7 points, 7.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He was always going to be a hard piece to trade, given his shooting struggles and enormous salary, but the fact that the bench experiment is working seems to make his L.A. future more secure.
However, the Lakers have been mentioned in all sorts of rumors and have already been linked with at least a half-dozen possible trade possibilities. The bottom line is that there are better fits out there than Westbrook and if they’re willing to include one or both of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks trading him becomes a lot easier.
But that doesn’t guarantee that the team that trades for him would actually want to keep him. Teams like the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, who could be potential landing spots in deals for Myles Turner or Bojan Bogdanovic, have young backcourts they would rather give minutes to. If they take Westbrook back in a trade they would almost certainly explore buying him out.
Where would Russell Westbrook go in after a buyout?
Putting Russell Westbrook in a buyout situation is a whole different scenario, removing the burden of making his contract fit. In that case, we could see several additional suitors — teams looking for veteran backcourt help. Teams that have the culture to manage big egos in new roles. Teams like the Miami Heat.
And a throw-away line at the end of the Lakers’ section in Eric Pincus’ latest trade rumor roundup mentioned that exact possibility: “NBA sources have listed the Miami Heat as a potential destination for Westbrook as a post-trade buyout candidate.”
There are a dozen dominos that would need to fall just right for it to happen but we could see Russell Westbrook in a Heat uniform this season.
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