The situation would likely arise if the Lakers trade Westbrook prior to this season’s trade deadline and he is bought out by his new team.
It’s possible that Los Angeles could still move on from Westbrook, even though he has made strides in a bench role this season.
If the Lakers do move him for pieces that fit their roster better around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it’s possible that the team receiving Westbrook would rather buy out his deal than attempt to integrate him into its rotation.
This season, Westbrook is averaging 14.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7.5 assists in a career-low 28.3 minutes per game. He’s shooting 40.3 percent from the field and 28.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Westbrook isn’t the same player he was when he won the league MVP award with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he could be a solid depth piece for the Heat this season.
Miami has dealt with a ton of injuries in the 2022-23 campaign, and the team’s record has suffered because of it. Miami is just 13-15 on the season and currently holds the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Westbrook would give the team another option at the point guard position behind Kyle Lowry. With Gabe Vincent missing time this season due to injury, the Heat have been awfully thin at the guard spot.
Westbrook’s playmaking is by far one of his best attributes, and he could help get easier shots for Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler if Miami were to acquire him.
The Heat will also have the shooting (Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and others) to surround Westbrook with when he’s on the floor.
The trade deadline and buyout market are still a long way away, but Westbrook could be a piece the Heat use to improve their chances of making a deep playoff run this season.