Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook have a beef that goes back nearly a decade, to the first round of the 2013 playoffs, when Beverley went for a steal, hit Westbrook’s knee and tore his meniscus (all but at the end of a of Thunder’s most promising seasons) . The animosity between the pair has continued over the years, with Westbrook doing his “rock the baby” thing on Beverley whenever he gets the chance and Westbrook saying in 2019, “Pat Bev tricks, man, like he’s playing defense. He’s not guarding anybody, man. He’s just running around doing nothing,” Beverly replied.
As of Thursday, Westbrook and Beverley have been teammates since the Lakers traded Beverley.
Can two players fueled by emotion put aside their longstanding beef to become teammates?
Or does this mean the Lakers are close to trading Westbrook before the start of training camp? The Athletic’s Jovan Buha says a source told him that’s happening.
Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team that sent him home to the Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation .
LeBron may have hinted as well.
The question isn’t “Do the Lakers want to trade Westbrook?” GM Rob Pelinka has tried since the trade deadline in February to find a deal that works, it’s just difficult with Westbrook owed $47 million. Pelinka has shopped for a Westbrook trade all season long, but hasn’t found a deal to his liking, in part because he would have to give up both of the Lakers’ tradeable first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to make the more of these agreements. Los Angeles has been reluctant to put both picks in any trade (except for Kyrie Irving). Also, the Lakers are carefully trying not to take on long-term salaries, they want the money to chase free agents next summer (they could have a little more than $30 million as of now).
The market isn’t going to change overnight, so it’s up to the Lakers to trade up to get the deal done (and those picks alone may not be enough). For example, would the Lakers put both picks in a trade with Indiana to get Myles Turner and Buddy Hield? The buzz has been no, even though Indiana is demanding it, because this trade won’t move the Lakers into a competitive position.
It’s hard to imagine Westbrook reacting well to a Wall-like situation — not playing and staying away from the team.
Which means Westbrook and Beverley might have to figure out how to get along, at least for a while. The trade market may have shifted by the trade deadline (and by then teams would only have to pay less than half a season’s worth of Westbrook’s salary, a more palatable number). For now, though, the Lakers are short on options, and a lineup of Westbrook and Beverley at point guard could be in the Lakers’ near-term future.
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Beverley signing with Lakers means Westbrook will be off the roster? originally appeared on NBCSports.com