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The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to get back into playoff contention after missing the 2022 postseason. Last year, the Lakers had high hopes for their new-look lineup, which featured the former MVP guard, Russell Westbrook.

It’s safe to say the first phase of the Westbrook experiment in Los Angeles didn’t work out. For the first time since 2009-2010, Westbrook averaged fewer than 19 points throughout the year. Considering the Lakers couldn’t secure a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament, Westbrook’s presence was hardly a boost last year.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Lakers potentially shipping out Westbrook one year after trading with the Washington Wizards for him, but the market for the 33-year-old regressing All-Star, who is owed $47 million for next season, is quite dry.

The Lakers are believed to be stuck with Westbrook for the 2022-2023 NBA season, but league executives believe the Miami Heat could be one surprising suitor to possibly look into acquiring Westbrook, according to Ric Bucher of FOX Sports.

A Move to Miami?

“Team president Pat Riley has a history of cultivating fiery competitive players, from Alonzo Mourning to Brian Grant to Jimmy Butler. He hoped that point guard Kyle Lowry would be the finishing piece to another championship-caliber team last season, but after posting the best record in the East, the team lost to Boston in the conference finals. Lowry, plagued by several nagging injuries, played in only 10 of their 18 postseason contests and was a shell of himself, averaging 7.8 points on 29.1 percent shooting. Depending on how this season goes for the Heat in general and Lowry in particular, Westbrook might be a worthwhile gamble.”

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Last summer, it seemed like the Heat made a home run move to acquire the longtime Toronto Raptors veteran, Kyle Lowry. Although Lowry’s best days were getting behind him, it seemed he could still bring much value to a championship-ready roster in Miami.

But at this point in Lowry’s career, injuries are getting the best of him. Last season, Lowry played in 63 games for the Heat. It was the first time he exceeded 60 games on the floor since the 2018-2019 run with the Raptors, which shows a clear trend of injuries piling up.

While postseason availability is more important than regular season availability, Lowry struggled in that department, too, as he played in just ten of Miami’s 18 games on their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics.

Would Westbrook Grow Miami Into a Bigger Threat?

The Philadelphia 76ers struggled to take care of business against Miami last year, even though Lowry barely played against them — and when Lowry did play — he was hardly effective.

The good news for the Sixers is that they are believed to have improved in the offseason. As for the Heat, they aren’t garnering the same offseason praise as they did just a summer ago.

Although adding Westbrook to the Heat shouldn’t be ruled out entirely, it’s probably unlikely at this time. And if the Heat do move Westbrook back to the East, the Heat could face the same issues as the Lakers, as Westbrook struggled to look like the same player as he did with the Houston Rockets in 2019-2020. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.