With Kyle Lowry expected to remain shelved until some time next month — and his status as a starter/rotation player up in the air after the team shopped him ahead of the NBA trade deadline — the Miami Heat are suddenly on the prowl for a veteran floor general.
To that end, one of the top potential targets on the buyout market has touched base with Miami, according to ESPN’s Association insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I’m told that Russell Westbrook has permission from the Jazz to go out and explore with potential buyout teams a role elsewhere that might fit,” Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter. “He and his agent Jeff Schwartz have been spending this week doing that…
“Among the teams that they’ve communicated with: the Bulls, the Clippers, the Wizards, the Miami Heat.”
The Heat May Be at a Disadvantage in Their Russell Westbrook Pursuit
Westbrook landed in Utah by way of trade after the Los Angeles Lakers decided to mix things up in an attempt to get back into the playoff picture in the wild Western Conference. And after averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game off the bench for LA this season, he has become the belle of the buyout ball.
He may or may not be the best on-court fit for the Heat in terms of play style — he’s not a floor-spacer and turnovers have been an issue for him — but there’s still a lot to like about the former MVP and nine-time All-Star’s unique skill set. That said, the Heat may be playing from behind where bringing him into the fold is concerned.
Added Woj about Westbrook’s familiarity with Miami’s competition: “Billy Donovan and Mo Cheeks on that Chicago Bulls coaching staff — he was with them a long time in Oklahoma City. His former teammate Paul George [is on the Clippers]. And, of course, the Wizards, where Russell Westbrook made a great impact before he came to the Lakers; helped get them into the postseason”
In any case, Woj doesn’t believe that anything is imminent with any of the aforementioned teams.
“Right now, he’s going to take his time. There’s a scenario where he had a good season with the Lakers, he can still set himself up in summer free agency by perhaps not playing at all,” Wojnarowski added.
“But there is interest in Westbrook and I think he’s going to continue over the next days into this All-Star Break to see if there’s something out there that makes sense to him and makes sense to a potential suitor.”
Heat’s Tyler Herro Given Long Odds in 3-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend
While Bam Adebayo was the only Heat player selected to play in this weekend’s All-Star Game — although that could change under the right circumstances — he won’t be the only member of the South Beach crew in Salt Lake City.
For his part, Tyler Herro will be participating in what some would consider the best All-Star event at this juncture in the 3-Point Contest.
Alas, the oddsmakers aren’t giving him the best shot at winning the shootout. While the exact odds differ from sportsbook to sportsbook, Herro has been a consistent long shot on all of them. Here’s how things look over at Odds Shark (along with each player’s conversion rate from deep this season):
Buddy Hield +450 (.423)
Damian Lillard +470 (.375)
Anfernee Simons +550 (.381)
Jayson Tatum +600 (.353)
Lauri Markkanen +650 (.412)
Kevin Huerter +650 (.390)
Tyrese Haliburton +700 (.398)
Tyler Herro +700 (.369)