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Ranking the top 5 buyout destinations for Russell Westbrook

Ranking the top 5 buyout destinations for Russell Westbrook
Jan 30, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) sits on the bench during warm ups before a game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

(BVM) – Russell Westbrook will play for his fifth team in as many seasons after being traded on Wednesday by the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz as part of a three-team, eight-player deal. 

The former NBA MVP and nine-time All-Star is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists off the bench this season. Westbrook leads all bench players in assists per game and is fourth in points. 

The Lakers acquired D’Angelo Russell (who played two seasons for the Lakers after they drafted him No. 2 overall in 2015), Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in the trade while the Minnesota Timberwolves received Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and picks. 

The Jazz received Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and a 2027 Lakers first-round pick (top-four protected) in addition to Westbrook. However, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, a buyout for Westbrook in Utah “would be the likely path.”

The term “buyout” is used when a veteran is released after the trade deadline. March 1 is the day to watch for Westbrook and other veteran buyout candidates because players bought out and/or waived after that date aren’t eligible to play in the postseason for a new team. 

With that in mind, here are the top 5 likeliest landing spots for Westbrook in a buyout scenario.