Russell Westbrook and His Agent Have Reportedly Spoken With the Bulls
The Russell Westbrook saga continued on Wednesday night.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Utah Jazz have given Russell Westbrook and his agent permission to speak with interested buyout teams. The Chicago Bulls reportedly are among the teams with whom Westbrook has already communicated, while the Clippers, Wizards, and Heat have also made the list.
Woj, once again, mentioned Westbrook’s long-standing relationship with Bulls head coach Billy Donovan and assistant coach Mo Cheeks. He also stressed that these conversations were primarily about what his fit and role might look like with this new team to finish out the season.
If his specific role is the most important to Westbrook, there is no question that the Bulls may be able to beat out their competition (whether or not that’s actually a good thing is a different story). The Bulls are painfully lacking an experienced facilitator. While free agent signing Goran Dragic played well to start the the season, he’s struggled to make the same positive impact lately, especially when it comes to setting up his All-Star teammates.
Westbrook’s ability to push the pace in transition and consistently play with a sense of urgency could immediately reward him with significant playing time. Head coach Billy Donovan even praised his power to always play with great energy when asked about the potential signing earlier this week. We also know thanks to a recent report that Donovan has relayed to Westbrook that he would like to reunite in Chicago.
“Unbelievable respect on my part from the standpoint of whenever there was a game. You knew he was always ready to play. And he’s a great competitor. He loves competing. And he plays with great energy and great passion,” Donovan said. When you go into a locker room before a game and you look at him, you’re not worried about whether or not he’s ready to play. Every game.”
Having said all of that, the Bulls aren’t at all a seamless *fit.* Arguably their greatest need is 3-point shooting, and Westbrook remains one of the worst 3-point shooting guards in the league. Not to mention, turnovers have been back-breaking for this team in recent weeks, and Westbrook is known for handing the team the ball.
As much as they could use his game-to-game mentality and passing chops, there is also a world where the basketball only appears that much uglier over this final stretch. At this point, though, I guess it’s worth the risk?
The final thing to remember is that out of the Clippers, Wizards, and Heat, the Bulls are comfortably in the worst position. A buyout guy is almost always looking to land on a playoff team, and the Bulls currently sit 1.5 games behind the Wizards and outside the Play-In Tournament (oh, and they’re on a five-game losing streak). Meanwhile, both LA and Miami are in a position to potentially guarantee Westbrook at least a first-round playoff series.
Again, there is a world where opportunity matters more to Westbrook, but I have a feeling that winning will take the cake.