Russell Westbrook just might be the answer to the Bulls’ energy issues

Westbrook — or any player on the buyout market, for that matter — would have to be bought out by his previous team before March 1 to be eligible for a postseason roster.

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Coach Billy Donovan can’t directly discuss how Russell Westbrook could fit in with the Bulls, but he did praise Westbrook’s ability.

Coach Billy Donovan can’t directly discuss how Russell Westbrook could fit in with the Bulls, but he did praise Westbrook’s ability.

Frank Franklin II/AP

Coach Billy Donovan can’t discuss guard Russell Westbrook’s potential fit with the Bulls because that would violate the NBA’s tampering rules.

As it stands, Westbrook is still under contract with the Jazz after being dealt to them by the Lakers in a three-team trade at the deadline last week. But contractual limitations didn’t stop Donovan from elaborating about what he thinks sets Westbrook apart.

‘‘Whenever there was a game, you knew he was always ready to play,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He’s a great competitor. He loves competing and plays with great energy and great passion.’’

The Bulls could use a heavy infusion of both, giving reports that have linked them with Westbrook on the buyout market some legs. According to NBA insider Chris Haynes, Donovan has relayed a message to Westbrook saying the Bulls are the team for him.

Donovan has referred to himself as sounding like a broken record when it comes to describing the Bulls’ energy issues. He once again made the reference before their game Monday against the Magic at the United Center.

The Bulls entered the game tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and are playing like a team — more often than not — that will be on the outside looking in on the play-in tournament. So what do they have to lose by pursuing Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP?

Westbrook, a career 30.4% three-point shooter, isn’t going to be the answer to the Bulls’ three-point problems (29.1% this month), but he just might be the voice they need in the locker room.

‘‘I don’t know if one player can provide [energy and intensity] or not,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘That’s certainly a lot to ask of one player potentially coming into a new situation. For our team, we have to be more consistent.’’

According to ESPN, the Clippers and Heat are also in the mix for Westbrook on the buyout market.

The Bulls are close to $2 million below the luxury-tax threshold, which ownership has paid only once in history. If they do pick up Westbrook on the buyout market, it likely would be for a prorated salary to keep the franchise from hitting the threshold.

Again, speaking in generalities and hypotheticals because he can’t discuss specifics about a player under contract with another team, Donovan said developing cohesion and fit this late in the season would depend heavily on player communication. There’s nothing Donovan can throw at Westbrook schematically that he hasn’t seen in his 15-year career.

‘‘The bigger issue is, how does a guy come in and make a group better?’’ Donovan said. ‘‘A lot of times, you have to play with the guys over a period of time in order to get comfortable. There is an adjustment period.’’

Westbrook — or any player in the buyout market, for that matter — would have to be bought out by his team before March 1 to be eligible for a postseason roster.

Aggravated Caruso

Guard Alex Caruso was ruled out against the Magic after aggravating his sprained left foot Saturday against the Cavaliers. He originally suffered the injury Feb. 2 and missed two games.

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