Point guard Russell Westbrook has been linked to several teams following a trade from the Lakers to the Jazz … but what about the Jazz?
In a strange twist, Utah could indeed be in play for where Westbrook finishes the season, according to several reports, including Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
Those reports suggest that the Jazz are willing to agree to a contract with Westbrook, but that Westbrook isn’t certain he will seek one. If that were the case, Westbrook would just play out the season on his $44.1 million expiring contract, then enter free agency on June 30.
That seems like a long shot, but sources told Hoops Wire that if Westbrook wants to remain with the Jazz, they would have no issue keeping him for the rest of the season. For the Jazz, it’s no big deal if Westbrook’s current deal comes off the books now, or later, sources said.
Westbrook, 34, has also been linked to the Bulls, Heat and Clippers, and per Chiang, the Heat indeed have had internal discussions about the possibility of adding him.
Also, Bulls coach Billy Donovan has reportedly made a pitch to Westbrook, the two being familiar from their days together with the Thunder.
“I was told Billy Donovan with the Bulls, his message has been relayed to Russ, that Chicago should be the place for him,” Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes said on the This League Uncut podcast with Marc Stein of The Stein Line. “So I don’t know. I don’t know if they’ve talked extensively. I don’t know if it was a text. But I was told (Donovan’s) message has been relayed to Russ, that Chicago should be the place.”
Either way, Westbrook isn’t expected to make a final decision on his next stop until after the All-Star Break, which begins Friday and lasts until Feb. 23.
Westbrook averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds in 52 games with the Lakers, coming off the bench in all but three. He shot 42 percent from the field, but just under 30 percent on 3-pointers.
For the record, here is what Chiang wrote:
“ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Heat and Chicago Bulls have interest, but Westbrook isn’t certain that he will seek a buyout from Utah, which is willing to give him one.”