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Miami Heat and 2 other teams are top contenders for Russell Westbrook after a buyout

The Miami Heat and two other playoff contenders could likely be fighting it out to land former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook once he is bought out by the Utah Jazz and hits free agency.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to do what they had been rumored to be working towards since the summer: trading Russell Westbrook. In a blockbuster three-team deal, the Lakers shipped off the nine-time All-Star to the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz are in need of point guard and bench depth following the NBA trade deadline after they also sent away veteran guard Mike Conley to the Timberwolves. However, the expectation is that the organization will soon buy out the remaining months of Westbrook’s contract and allow him to hit the NBA free-agent market.

Also Read: Lakers swing another trade for an impact player before NBA trade deadline

Despite the negativity surrounding Russell Westbrook’s level of play at this point in his career and his benefits to a roster, it seems several teams will pursue him on the open market, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls.

Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls among contenders for Russell Westbrook

miami heat, russell westbrook
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer reported that “Russell Westbrook to Miami has been the loudest buyout landing spot for him that I’ve heard dating back to this past summer when the Utah and Russell [trade] stuff started coming up.” The move makes a lot of sense for Miami since they have gotten very poor production from their point guards this season and are in need of a boost heading into the postseason.

  • Russell Westbrook stats (2022-2023): 15.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.9 SPG, 30% 3PT

On Friday, Hoops Hype reported that rumblings in the league are suggesting that Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George is trying to recruit Westbrook after the team traded both Reggie Jackson and John Wall at the deadline and still needs an upgrade at point guard to improve their title hopes.

Lastly, Bleacher Report league insider Chris Haynes claimed yesterday that the Chicago Bulls are also another team in a fight for a playoff spot with interest in the former Thunder star. The Bulls have underperformed this season without starting PG Lonzo Ball, and with no clear timeline for his return, Russell Westbrook would certainly boost their offense and backcourt for the stretch run.