Earlier this summer, during a whirlwind series of ESPN appearances where he made headlines for everything from eviscerating Chris Paul’s defense to discrediting the Lakers’ 2020 title as a “Bubble Championship,” one of the comments that went a bit more under the radar from then Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley was his assertion that he “wouldn’t even hesitate” to join the Lakers and play with LeBron James.
“To be able to play with a great like that, to be able to pick his brain, to be able to be a star in whatever role that I’m asked, playing alongside Russell Westbrook? Fantastic. And playing for the Lakers? Couldn’t ask for a better job,” Beverley said then.
At the time, it wasn’t clear how Beverley would feasibly end up in Los Angeles after he had just finished a playoff run while serving as the heart and soul of the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves. But after the Wolves traded him to the now-rebuilding Utah Jazz as part of their blockbuster Rudy Gobert trade, it would seem Beverley is suddenly very available for the Lakers, who are one of the teams to inquire about what it would take to get him, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:
Patrick Beverley also appears to be a strong trade candidate. The former Timberwolves point guard has drawn interest from the Lakers and Heat, sources told B/R. Philadelphia had been mentioned as a potential Beverley suitor, with his past Houston experience and the Sixers’ obvious deep Rockets connections, but it seems unlikely that Beverley would now be Philadelphia-bound after the team acquired De’Anthony Melton on draft night.
On-court fit as a defensive-minded guard who shoots threes well aside, this rumor is amusing in part because despite his praise above for the idea of “playing alongside Russell Westbrook,” those two have an extensive feud dating back to when Westbrook tore his meniscus during a near-dead-ball collision with Beverley in the 2013 playoffs.
That bad blood reared its head again last year when Beverley twisted an iconic old Westbrook insult — “Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he playing defense,” Westbrook said in 2019. “He don’t guard nobody, man. It’s just running around, doing nothing. ... All that commotion to get 47” — by calling Westbrook “The Real Magician” on Twitter as he struggled with the Lakers:
I remember when somebody said all I do is run around and I trick y’all well my boy is The Real Magician this year.— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) February 10, 2022
A month later, Beverley repeatedly called Westbrook “trash” while plugging his nose during a blowout victory over Los Angeles. In short, if the Lakers did trade for Beverley... it would be even harder to believe their claims that they plan to run things back with Westbrook.
As for the rest of the team, aside from James once sort of blaming Beverley for injuring his groin — and judging by their tweets from James’ tequila party, they seem to be on good terms now — the Lakers have actually maintained an interest in the 10-year veteran for a while. Beverley himself tweeted in 2019 that he’d heard the Lakers wanted him in him in free agency, and the team did “reach out” that summer before he chose to remain with the Clippers. Still, we know they’ve valued him for a while, and so it’s at least plausible they’d opt to pursue him again in a trade.
All that noted, it’s unlikely any trade like this gets done while the team is still at a stalemate in Kyrie Irving talks and trying to figure out what will happen next on that front. Still, this rumor is the latest indication that Kyrie or no Kyrie, the Lakers aren’t done adding to their roster just yet. We’ll see if Beverley ends up ultimately being a part of that plan over the weeks and months to come until training camp.