The Los Angeles Lakers have made it abundantly clear that they would prefer to go into the 2022-23 NBA season with Russell Westbrook off the roster.
In recent weeks the front office has done its best to spin the situation in a more favorable light. They’re willing to try Westbrook and Pat Beverley together, they insist. There is no urgency to deal Westbrook away, they claim. Their Plan B option is solid, they maintain.
But obviously nothing has materially changed to actually alter L.A.’s opinion of Westbrook, so clearly it’s all just propaganda to regain some semblance of leverage.
Interestingly enough, a fascinating new dark horse for a potential Westbrook trade was thrown into the mix this past week.
According to Ric Bucher of Fox Sports, the Miami Heat have been floated as a potential suitor.
“Team president Pat Riley has a history of cultivating fiery competitive players, from Alonzo Mourning to Brian Grant to Jimmy Butler,” Bucher wrote.
“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 all comes down to a steadfast belief in the power of the Heat’s culture.
“It makes sense,” an Eastern Conference executive told Bucher. “Miami believes they can rehabilitate anyone.”
As of two weeks ago, Westbrook was still lashing out on social media. It’s hard to see how he and the Lakers can coexist for an entire season.
Up to this point there have been three teams out there willing to accept Westbrook if Los Angeles also throws in their future first round draft picks.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/UYpuVUudyu
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 8, 2022
Thus far, the Lakers have resisted.
Could they maybe find a common ground with the Heat that would result in a mutually beneficial trade for both sides?
Time will tell.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.