Every year after the trade deadline, a slew of former NBA All-Stars and aging veterans find new homes via the buyout market. But despite the name recognition, the players involved rarely provide their new teams with a significant boost.
There are still plenty of recognizable names on the board for contenders and playoff hopefuls to add before the end of the regular season, but the three biggest buyout additions of the year have already taken place. Let's examine whether Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Patrick Beverley can help the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls.
Westbrook has become the league's most polarizing player on the court. While the former MVP is still averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and a steal in slightly under 30 minutes per game in his 15th season, the 34-year-old's inefficiency, lackluster defense, and poor decision-making make for a toxic mix for teams trying to win at the highest level. Among 51 players this season who've attempted at least 700 field-goal attempts and 200 3-point attempts, Westbrook ranks 50th in true shooting percentage.
The Clippers are one of the NBA's most all-in teams, and could find some utility for Westbrook, in theory. But barring the nine-time All-Star adapting his game in ways he's never shown before, this partnership is unlikely to bear any meaningful fruit.
Westbrook can still push the pace, thrive in transition, and put pressure on opposing defenses. That combination - and his playmaking - would make him well suited to a bench role where he's surrounded by shooters. But reports indicate Westbrook will eventually start for the Clippers, which means it's only a matter of time before he runs into the same issues.
Though the Clippers could still use an organizing guard, they're at their best when the ball is in the hands of either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. But having Westbrook on the court with Leonard and George provides negative offensive value since Westbrook's a non-shooter who refuses to move much without the ball or work as a screener. The Clippers' 21st-ranked offense will be further cramped when Westbrook shares the court with one of the team's non-shooting big men, Ivica Zubac or Mason Plumlee. Further, any minutes Westbrook takes from a more valuable player - whether that's Terance Mann or Norman Powell - is a detriment to the Clippers.
Westbrook will still fill the stat sheet, and he'll have some big games occasionally, but those nights will be few and far between. In most games, his overall contributions will fall far short of his box-score stats.