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The Los Angeles Lakers’ trade with the Utah Jazz for guard Patrick Beverley on Thursday was intriguing on a few fronts.
The trade is interesting for the future of guard Donovan Mitchell in Utah, as the Jazz enter a rebuild with the departure of head coach Quin Snyder and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert during the offseason. The New York Knicks and the Jazz have been flirting all offseason with the idea of a Mitchell transaction, and many around the league believe that Utah is not done with their offseason moves following Thursday’s deal.
The other part of the trade that raises an eyebrow is the pairing of Beverley with Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook.
On its face, Beverley would be the backup point guard behind Westbrook, providing tenacious defense and play making off the bench.
But there’s one heck of a history between Westbrook and Beverley, and the idea that the two players will suddenly put their differences aside seems far-fetched.
The acquisition of Beverley makes it more likely that the Lakers will either trade Westbrook or send him home before training camp, according to a report by The Athletic.
“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 sending him home a la the Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation,” The Athletic reported.
The tension between the two players dates back to the 2013 season when Beverley went for a steal as a member of the Houston Rockets, colliding with Westbrook’s knee and injuring him in the process. The two have traded barbs through the media since, and last season Beverley taunted Westbrook during a Minnesota Timberwolves’ win over the Lakers in March.
A Westbrook trade would be tricky for the Lakers after the nine-time All-Star opted into his $47.1 million player option for the 2022-2023 season. Sending Westbrook away from the team would be considered a “drastic scenario,” according to The Athletic.
Westbrook has been rumored to be in multiple trade scenarios after a difficult first season in L.A., with the guard averaging his lowest point totals since his second season in the league while shooting just 29.8% from beyond the three-point line.