Russell Westbrook Rumors: Jazz Grant PG Permission to Speak with Bulls, Heat, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 16, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 09: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on December 09, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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The Utah Jazz have granted permission to Russell Westbrook to speak with prospective suitors on the buyout market, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported Wednesday on SportsCenter that Westbrook and his agent have spoken with officials from the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Washington Wizards.

On Feb. 11, Wojnarowski reported the veteran playmaker planned to take some time with the All-Star break around the corner to consider his options for the remainder of the season.

The Jazz are reportedly content to keep him on the roster but couldn't guarantee him a specified role or playing time. To that end, they could buy him out and let him hit the open market.

The trouble for Westbrook is that his stock has declined so precipitously that landing on his feet with a playoff contender may not be a given.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported on FanDuel TV that his market is "slow-moving."

FanDuel TV @FanDuelTV

"When you look at teams around the league, there's not a spot for Russell Westbrook… It's a slow moving market, and we'll see if he'll be able to find a home"<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a> with the latest on Russell Westbrook finding a new team on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RunItBack?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RunItBack</a> <a href="https://t.co/fpN5gLLmLn">pic.twitter.com/fpN5gLLmLn</a>

Last summer, Westbrook and longtime agent Thad Foucher went their separate ways. At issue was Foucher's belief the 2016-17 MVP should stay with the Los Angeles Lakers and adapt to however head coach Darvin Ham intended to use him.

Foucher was concerned that Westbrook would immediately get bought out if he got traded to another team. He understood that once a player—no matter how notable—becomes a buyout guy, there's no going back.

Blake Griffin, having been waived by the Detroit Pistons midway through the 2020-21 season, signed with the Brooklyn Nets in March 2021. He has played on one-year contracts for the past two seasons.

Andre Drummond, who got bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the same time Griffin was on his way out in Detroit, is now a backup center earning $3.2 million.

Westbrook's decline has been apparent for years. Maybe he can close out this season strong with the Jazz or another team and quiet his skeptics.

But the general uncertainty over what his future holds could be a sign of what's to come for the nine-time All-Star.