Since being moved to the bench, Russell Westbrook has been playing significantly better than he was prior as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
He has had a number of bad shooting games in his new role, but he has done an admirable job of getting his teammates easy baskets, and he has seemingly cut down on the careless turnovers that seemed to pile up for him last season.
Still, there is a real chance the Lakers could end up trading him this season. His $47 million expiring contract could offer another team some significant salary cap relief, and LA lacks ample trade assets other than him.
The thinking around the league is that if Westbrook is indeed traded, the team he would be sent to would simply buy out his contract, making him essentially a free agent.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report proposed a massive trade that would send Kyrie Irving, Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel to the Lakers for Westbrook, two other players and draft capital. In that article, he reported people around the NBA believe Westbrook would sign with the Miami Heat if bought out.
Via Bleacher Report:
“The (Detroit) Pistons probably don’t view Westbrook, Beverley or Nunn as important rotation players and could look to trade whichever Lakers they receive. If Westbrook is bought out, the buzz around the league has him signing with the Miami Heat.”
The Heat, who were very close to reaching the NBA Finals last season for the second time in three years, are just 7-11 and badly need an injection of pace and offensive firepower. If Westbrook were to buy into Pat Riley’s championship culture, he could give them just that.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire