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Russell Westbrook interested in two teams if bought out by Utah Jazz

Wednesday’s blockbuster three-team trade that sent Russell Westbrook from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz had been in the works for some time.

From Utah’s perspective, the idea was to acquire future draft capital and financial flexibility in the trade with the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves. The team has no real plans to roster Westbrook moving forward, leading to a likely buyout. Utah did just that by adding a top-four protected first-round pick in the 2027 NBA Draft from Los Angeles.

There’s a ton of moving parts here with multiple contending teams likely having interest in the former NBA MVP despite his deteriorating skill-set. While we don’t know exactly what teams might throw their hats into the ring, Westbrook himself reportedly has two preferences.

“Russell Westbrook is not expected to stay in Utah, and a league source tells The Athletic that Westbrook would have interest in joining the LA Clippers or the Miami Heat in the event of an expected buyout,” report on Westbrook and a potential buyout.

Los Angeles has long had interest in finding an upgrade at point guard. The team is set to either trade or buy out John Wall. It has also been linked to the likes of Fred VanVleet and Terry Rozier leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Related: Ideal Russell Westbrook landing spots

Short of the Clippers pulling off a trade of that ilk, Westbrook could make sense to team up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. In particular, he was George’s teammate over a two-year span with the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier in his career. Westbrook played at an insanely high level during that time.

  • Russell Westbrook stats (2017-19): 24.2 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 10.5 APG, 44% shooting

While the Clippers would be getting a different iteration of Westbrook years later, point guard remains a major need.

As for the Miami Heat, it’s all about what happens with high-priced point guard Kyle Lowry within the next couple hours. Miami has him on the trade block and is looking to move the aging veteran. If that were to come to frution, picking up Russell Westbrook as a stopgap option to team up with Jimmy Butler would make a ton of sense.