Vivian Killelia/Getty Images for the h.wood Group
The Los Angeles Lakers have made every effort to publicly support Russell Westbrook this season, but it’s hard to ignore that a change of scenery will likely be best for both the player and the organization.
And the team that might actually be fit for Westbrook at this point in his career is the Miami Heat.
“It makes sense,” an executive told Fox Sports’ Eastern Conference. Rick Boucher. Miami thinks it can rehabilitate anyone.
Bucher wrote that “the executives and the scouting team were only able to come up with one potential landing point” for Westbrook, the Heat. He noted that team boss Pat Riley “has a history of raising fiery rival players, from Alonzo Morning to Brian Grant to Jimmy Butler.”
But the same stylistic clashes that Westbrook has had with Los Angeles will be present with Miami.
Butler and Pam Adebayo spend a lot of time on the ball, just like LeBron James. Westbrook has always been a keeper in control of the ball and delivers little to no ball given his woeful peripheral shot (29.8 percent of three last season, 30.5 percent of his career).
Miami also loves to talk about the culture of hard work and defensive engagement. Westbrook’s effort has never been questioned, at least on the offensive side of the ball, but his defensive intensity can be described as wobbly.
And what would the trade look like? The Heat could take on Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson to make money, but they definitely want more from Westbrook in return unless they stop believing both players. (Robinson played just 12.2 minutes per game in the playoffs last season, so the Heat could have been comfortable moving on from him.)
And while the 36-year-old Lowry has struggled with injuries in recent years, his defensive aptitude and ability to play off the ball (37.7 percent of three last season and 36.8 in his career) make him a more natural fit for the Heat. .
Plus, even if Miami thinks they can get the most out of Westbrook, he still has to admit that his style needs to change so he can align better with a rival team.
“It’s not what he let go, it’s how he’s going to accept that he’s not the player he was,” an East Scout told Butcher. It’s similar to Carmelo [Anthony]. I’m not sure Ross has the awareness to accept a lower role.”
something to give him. If Westbrook stays with L.A., his better role could be to come off the bench, as newly acquired Patrick Beverly is better suited to guard alongside James and Anthony Davis.
“It’s hard to see him as anything but a backup for the Lakers,” one Western scout told Butcher. It’s hard for him to play with him [Davis] And LeBron. It might be good if they let him go with the second unit. He has to play the only way he knows how unless he miraculously learns to shoot.”
Westbrook, however, has Really rough in such a role.
A change of scenery might give him a chance to keep the role he’s played throughout his career. But it’s hard to find a landing spot for him with that in mind. The Heat certainly doesn’t seem like a natural match, no matter how much they believe in the often-discussed transformative powers of their culture.