Russell Westbrook Reportedly on Bulls Radar if Available

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The Chicago Bulls Are Reportedly Interested in Signing Russell Westbrook if Utah Buys Him Out

Chicago Bulls

Uh, wow. I know we’ve been begging the Bulls to do SOMETHING before the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline … but I don’t think we quite had “sign Russell Westbrook” in mind. And yet, here we are.

In case you missed it, Westbrook went from the Lakers to the Jazz tonight in a massive three-team trade that sent D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt to Los Angeles. In return, the Jazz got (among two others players and a top-4 protected first-round pick in 2027) Russell Westbrook.

At the time of the deal, Eli openly wondered what was next for Westbrook, saying that he has “to imagine the Utah Jazz are planning to buy him out of his $47 million deal, which will then give (Westbrook) a chance to sign with a playoff contender.”

If that does, indeed, happen, it sounds like the Chicago Bulls, who have a clear need at point guard and a not insignificant head coach connection (Billy Donovan coached Westbrook for years), could be part of the party. But man that is just wild. And, as Eli also pointed out, the fit isn’t quite so obvious once you really dig in:

…however, it’s hard to see a world where the fit makes sense. He’s a downhill player who provides very little spacing. Not to mention, he’s a pretty high-usage talent. The fit just doesn’t make really any sense, and I have to imagine Westbrook will be particularly weary of that after his rough stint in LA.

I tend to agree with Eli in the “fit” department. This team already seems to have a tough time finding the right balance with their big three of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic. Adding another high-usage piece seems a little difficult. There’s also the question of whether Westbrook would want to sign with the Bulls, who are – at a minimum – dysfunctional. But I guess we’ll see.

And you thought there weren’t gonna be any fireworks this week.

NOTE: Eli was recording a podcast when this news broke, so I jumped in to cover it. He’ll have more thoughts for you on the possibility and potential impact soon. KTHANKSBYE.

Update (9:05): Hi, it’s Eli! Ok, so this news is … um … interesting. Considering the Bulls’ need at the position and the team’s obvious hole at point guard, I can’t necessarily say I’m surprised by the connection. Having said that, I will be pretty surprised if anything actually ends up happening.

Not only will Westbrook have to buy into what the Bulls are trying to do, but the Bulls would still have to open up space to make signing him a possibility. More specifically, they would have to trade a player by tomorrow’s deadline and take back nothing in return to open up the roster spot and financial room for him. The other option would be waiving someone and then signing Westbrook, which would then put them over the luxury tax. And I can’t imagine they are going to join the tax-paying teams just for a chance to sign Westbrook through the remainder of the season.

So, yeah, the Bulls have some work to do over the next 24 hours if they really want a chance at signing Westbrook (which, by the way, I don’t know if they should want that chance).

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami