The Los Angeles Lakers look ready to head into the 2022-23 season with Russell Westbrook on the team, as deals to unload him have involved too many future assets for the Lakers. If they could have dealt him for cheaper, they would have. So far, this hasn't been the case.
An outside team that could come in to make LA an offer for Westbrook might be the Miami Heat, as indicated by Ric Bucher of Fox Sports.
Even then, team executives and scouts could only come up with one potential landing spot: the Miami Heat. Team president Pat Riley has a history of cultivating fiery competitive players, from Alonzo Mourning to Brian Grant to Jimmy Butler. He 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." (h/t Fox Sports)
Would Russell Westbrook Be A Good Fit In Miami?
The Miami Heat are in a very narrow contending window right now, so taking a chance on Westbrook does mean they are relatively sure of what the point guard brings to the table at his current age.
For a trade to work, the Heat will have to give up Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry, but that may be a worthwhile swap for both teams. Robinson was played off the court at the tail end of last season and is eating up a lot of salary for someone struggling to get playtime. Lowry's fit in Miami was awkward and might not be a fruitful one this season.
A lineup featuring Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo will need outside shooting. The fit remains clunky, but Westbrook's ceiling on what he can deliver is higher than Lowry's, even though Lowry is the more skilled shooter. His percentages were extremely poor, so at this point, this may just be the best way for Miami to make an improvement after a dull offseason.