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Clippers reportedly begin talks to sign Russell Westbrook after buyout

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the New York Knicks on January 31, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Coach Tyronn Lue and the Clippers feel they need more from the point guard spot. What do they need? Shooting, defense, someone comfortable off the ball at points but can also handle some playmaking duties at times.

Does that describe Russell Westbrook? Because that’s who the Clippers have started a conversation with, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard met with Westbrook before Paul jetted off to Salt Lake City for the All-Star Game, according to Law Murray at The Athletic.

Westbrook was traded from the Lakers to the Jazz in a three-team blockbuster that also sent Mike Conley to the Timberwolves. Westbrook has reportedly spoken to Utah about a potential buyout, but he wants a landing spot first. He has gotten permission to talk to the Clippers, Heat, Bulls and Wizards reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. However, a report from Marc Stein said to expect Westbrook to take most of the All-Star break to make his decision, he wants to recharge and not be rushed.

Westbrook has loved playing back home in Los Angeles close to his family and has fans in the Clippers organization.

“I’ve talked to him just to kind of see where his head is and to see if there is anything I can do...” George said after a recent game. “I’m a big believer and a fan of what Russ’ work is, having one of my best seasons in my career alongside of him. I’ve seen what he can do night in and night out. I really think he can improve the team. He’s such a big talent. He rebounds, he finds guys, he makes the game easy for everyone. I think he will come in, mesh, figure out how we play, and adjust to it.”

Westbrook’s game has changed — devolved may be a better word — since George played with him in Oklahoma City. Westbrook averaged 15.9 points and 7.5 assists a game with the Lakers and had four triple-doubles, but he is inefficient and did not blend well with the other Lakers.

Are the Clippers at a point where a roll of the dice on Westbrook is worth it? Does he fit their needs? We may find out soon.