Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has seen his name involved in trade rumors all offseason long and has been linked to teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz.
Despite trying for some time, the Lakers have been unable to move the nine-time All-Star to another team, and it’s looking like he’ll be on the Lakers to start the upcoming 2022-23 NBA regular season.
Of course, there’s still a chance that the former league MVP gets a deal before the regular season begins. NBA executives and Scouts seem to think that the Miami Heat would be an interesting Landing spot for Westbrook.
“Even then, team executives and scouts could only come up with one potential landing spot: the Miami Heat,” wrote Ric Bucher of Fox Sports. “Team president Pat Riley has a history of cultivating fiery competitive players, from Alonzo Mourning to Brian Grant to Jimmy Butler. They hoped that point guard Kyle Lowry would be the finishing piece to another championship-caliber team last season, but after posting the best record in the East, the team lost to Boston in the conference finals. Lowry, plagued by several nagging injuries, played in only 10 of their 18 postseason contests and was a shell of himself, averaging 7.8 points on 29.1 percent shooting. Depending on how this season goes for the Heat in general and Lowry in particular, Westbrook might be a worthwhile gamble.
“‘It makes sense,’ an Eastern Conference executive said. ‘Miami believes they can rehabilitate anyone.'”
Westbrook hasn’t been linked to the Heat at all this offseason, so it would certainly be surprising if a deal wound up happening between the two sides.
Lowry and Heat Sharpshooter Duncan Robinson would probably have to be included in any hypothetical deal.
However, a trade between the two sides doesn’t seem all that likely. Westbrook probably wouldn’t fit well in Miami, as he would have to play alongside Butler and Bam Adebayo, two players who have the ball in their hands a lot. Westbrook’s problem in LA so far has been that he seemingly hasn’t adjusted well to an off-ball role.
Last season, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per contest in 78 games. While those stats aren’t bad at all, Westbrook definitely took a step back.
The Lakers were unable to even make it to the postseason in the 2021-22 campaign, going 33-49 and finishing in 11th place in the Western Conference.
As for the Heat, they finished with a 53-29 record and the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the team made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where it lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
Miami hasn’t had the busiest offseason, and it seems like the organization is ready to run it back this season with its current core. It would certainly be entertaining to see Westbrook play for the Heat, but that appears to be just a Fantasy for now.