LOS ANGELES – The LA Clippers remain heavily involved in trade conversations as the NBA trade deadline nears, and they’re expected to pursue every avenue to improve their roster. That includes the buyout market, where Russell Westbrook could soon be headed after being traded to the Utah Jazz.
Players like Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, and Terry Rozier continue to be linked to the Clippers. This becoming more apparent following the three-team trade that took both Mike Conley and D’Angelo Russell — two point guards the Clippers had been reportedly considering — off the market.
The agreed-upon deal between the Jazz, Lakers, and Timberwolves is sending D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt to Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook and a Top-4 protected first-round pick to Utah, and Mike Conley, Nickel Alexander-Walker, and three second-round picks to Minnesota.
Russell Westbrook and the Jazz are expected to reach a buyout and if that happens, the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat are reportedly interested in the point guard, per BR’s Chris Haynes and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Multiple sources confirmed to ClutchPoints that several players on the Clippers would be ‘open’ to the idea of adding Russell Westbrook should be become available. There’s a belief among some that Westbrook wasn’t being optimized to the best of his abilities with the Lakers, and that a fit alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in addition to the shooting the Clippers have on the roster, would put him and the team in better positions to succeed.
Still, with over 10 hours remaining until the NBA trade deadline, the Clippers could very well acquire a point guard that more appropriately fits their needs. A lot would need to happen — and not happen — for this type of move to occur.
While some of the players may feel like Westbrook could be a fit, there’s no indication that the front office shares that sentiment. Russell Westbrook certainly has the respect of players around the league, but the defenses employed against him over the last few years suggest otherwise.
Westbrook previously played with George on the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. George had the best season of his career playing alongside Westbrook, finishing third in MVP voting averaging 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.
Russell Westbrook’s trade to Utah means he’s been on five teams in five seasons, with no stint lasting longer than these one-and-a-half years with the Lakers.
Westbrook started the first three games for the Lakers this season under new head coach Darvin Ham. He then came off the bench for the next 49 games until he was traded on Wednesday night.
In 52 games this season, Westbrook is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists on 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 29.6 percent from three. His 41.7 percent mark from the field is the worst since his rookie year, when he shot 39.8 percent.
In related news, the partnership between the LA Clippers and John Wall appears to be coming to an end, according to Marc Stein. A buyout is expected to take place if the team can’t find a suitable trade for the point guard.
The NBA’s trade deadline is today, Thursday, at 3PM EST.