Patrick Beverley

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Beverley, Nunn, Brown, Walker, Schröder

New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham isn’t committing to having Russell Westbrook in his starting lineup to open the 2022/23 season, telling reporters on Monday that the team has a “variety of options to fill in our backcourt,” as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group tweets.

It might have made a bad situation in Los Angeles worse if Westbrook had been pulled from the team’s starting lineup last season, but the former MVP appears to be keeping an open mind as he prepares for the coming year. Prior to his Media Day session, Westbrook told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that it doesn’t matter whether or not he feels “wanted” by the Lakers and that he’s “all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” even if that means coming off the bench.

Westbrook – who told Wojnarowski that he thinks he, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James can be “unstoppable” – said to reporters on Monday that he has talked to Davis and James at length this summer about what worked and didn’t work last season, and has found those conversations “very beneficial” (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).

While there’s no guarantee that Westbrook – long considered a trade candidate – will spend the entire season in Los Angeles, Lakers head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said today that the point guard is still one of the NBA’s great players, and expressed confidence that Ham will bring out “another level” in him this season (Twitter link via Goon).

Even Westbrook’s longtime nemesis Patrick Beverley had nothing but praise for his new teammate, suggesting that the rumored animus between the two guards has been overblown and telling Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link) that Westbrook has been his “best friend” on the team since he was traded to L.A. last month.

As we wait to see whether this season goes any smoother for Westbrook than his first season in Los Angeles did, here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Now that James has signed an extension with the team this offseason, the Lakers are willing to trade future draft assets to upgrade the roster, Pelinka confirmed today. However, Pelinka stressed that the team will only get one chance to trade those 2027 and 2029 first-round picks and said that any deal involving those draft assets must clearly improve the club’s title chances (Twitter links via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).
  • Kendrick Nunn has been cleared for all contact work after missing the entire 2021/22 season with a knee injury, but new additions Troy Brown (back) and Lonnie Walker (ankle) are limited for the time being, Pelinka said today. Walker downplayed his ankle issue, telling reporters that he has been running, jumping, and cutting on it, and is pretty close to being fully healthy (Twitter links via Goon).
  • Dennis Schröder isn’t at training camp yet because he’s working through a visa issue, per Pelinka, but it shouldn’t be too long before he joins the team (Twitter link via Goon).
  • Neither Pelinka nor Ham is worried about the Lakers’ wing defense, tweets Buha. “We should be one of the elite defensive teams in the league,” Ham said. “… We have the personnel for it.”
  • In a full story for The Athletic, Buha poses 10 key questions facing the Lakers, starting with Westbrook’s role and future. Buha also considers the team’s starting lineup battles, where the shooting will come from, and what to realistically expect from LeBron in his 20th NBA season.

Pacific Notes: Iguodala, Schröder, Westbrook, Sarver

The Warriors anticipate that longtime veteran leader Andre Iguodala will announce his return to the club, writes Marc Stein on Substack. Iguodala has previously suggested he will publicly reveal his decision during an upcoming episode of his podcast Point Forward, co-hosted by his former Sixers teammate Evan Turner.

Stein reports that Golden State expects Iguodala, who has won four titles with the team, will be back for his 19th NBA season in 2022/23 rather than opting to retire, but is prepared for either outcome. The Warriors top off their 2022 training camp earlier than most other teams, as they will be playing exhibition games abroad.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Elsewhere in his latest Substack piece, Stein suggests that the Lakers consider Russell Westbrook and new addition Dennis Schröder to be their top two point guards. Sources inform Stein that the Lakers see the 6’1″ Patrick Beverley, who started as a point guard alongside shooting guard D’Angelo Russell last season with the Timberwolves, as a swingman who can defend and shoot from long range, rather than a point guard, heading into his 11th NBA season. Stein writes that L.A. intends to use Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, and Lonnie Walker at the shooting guard or small forward position instead of point guard.
  • Earlier today, Schröder led his native Germany to a win over Poland to secure a bronze medal in this year’s EuroBasket contest, per Eurohoops. The 6’3″ Lakers point guard scored 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting. “That was the goal of the federation, of coach Herbert and for the team and it’s an unbelievable feeling to win a medal in a Eurobasket,” Schröder said after the game. Schröder’s performance in tournament play this summer reportedly helped his cause in free agency.
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver seemed uncomfortable at being forced to defend the misbehavior of temporarily suspended Suns team owner Robert Sarver in a Wednesday press conference, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Sarver has been banned from having any role with either Phoenix basketball club he owns, the Suns or the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, for the 2022/23 season.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder

Despite the recent additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder, Russell Westbrook is increasingly likely to remain on the Lakers‘ roster, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

However, sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook’s role might change, with the team “strongly” considering having the former league MVP come off the bench in 2022/23. New head coach Darvin Ham has the “full backing” of the organization to determine lineups for the upcoming season, and Westbrook will have to outperform his new teammates during minicamp, training camp and the preseason to remain the Lakers’ starting point guard, Buha and Amick write.

Unless the Lakers can find a trade that they believe makes them a legitimate title contender, Westbrook is “highly likely” to stay on the roster, sources tell The Athletic.

A major part of that line of thinking is the Lakers want to keep their financial and trade options open for ’23/24, when they project to have $30MM+ in cap room for free agency, per Buha and Amick. Westbrook is on an expiring contract worth $47.1MM, and the Lakers have been reluctant to trade their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round picks to offload him.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Los Angeles is banking on Ham being able to optimize Westbrook’s talent — and get through to him in a way that Frank Vogel couldn’t — as well as a return to health for Anthony Davis in order for the ’22/23 season to be successful, sources tell Buha and Amick.
  • According to Buha and Amick, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Jazz, Knicks and Hornets prior to Donovan Mitchell being dealt to Cleveland, with an early framework sending Bojan Bogdanovic and Terry Rozier to L.A.
  • Los Angeles continues to show interest in Bogdanovic, with The Athletic’s duo reporting that Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley have been included in recent talks with Utah for Westbrook. However, a deal is considered unlikely because of the aforementioned reasons — the Lakers don’t want to part with first-rounders and Clarkson has a $14.3MM player option for ’23/24 that would eat into the team’s potential cap room.
  • Along the same lines, Buha and Amick write that dealing Westbrook to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, which has been rumored multiple times, is also “not expected” — Hield has a $19.3MM cap hit in ’23/24.
  • Schröder made an Instagram post expressing his excitement about returning to the Lakers, saying that he wanted to “make s–t right!” Schröder’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link) that the team informed Schröder that “there will be a lot of minutes for everybody” despite a crowded backcourt.

Lakers Notes: Nunn, Backcourt, Westbrook, Outlook

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn was recently cleared for increased contact in workouts, league sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Head coach Darvin Ham told reporters, including Buha, that Nunn has primarily been working on individual drills and working out in the weight room.

According to Buha, Ham also said that Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker are all in consideration for the starting lineup, and the trio will have “notable roles.”

Nunn, who missed all of last season with a knee issue, said he was “100%” healthy back in July, but subsequent reports from Buha have cast a cloud on his status. Still, additional contact was an important hurdle to clear for the 27-year-old, so we’ll see if he’s ready to go once the season starts next month.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • The “combustible” pairing of Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook could provide the spark necessary to ignite the Lakers, or it could blow up in their faces, opines Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California Newsgroup (subscriber link). As Swanson observes, both players are well-known for being stubborn, and their previous run-ins have been well documented. Everyone in L.A. is saying the right things right now, but only their on-court play and actions will prove whether the backcourt pairing will work or not, Swanson adds.
  • Westbrook needs to reinvent his game in order to make things work with the Lakers, argues Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. Westbrook’s refusal to adjust his playing style was a primary reason why he fit so poorly with the team last season, Hernandez notes. Asking him to make drastic changes this late in his career might not be fair to the former MVP, but he’ll have to play much better defense and make offensive adjustments for the team to find success in year two, Hernandez writes.
  • League insiders are pretty skeptical regarding the Lakers’ outlook for the 2022/23 season, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. One common thread brought up by the insiders was that the defense might not be good enough to hold up the poor shooting of the roster. Only one of the seven insiders Pincus spoke to was confident the Lakers would make the playoffs outright.

Lakers’ Ham: Beverley, Westbrook Could Be Paired Together

Longtime heated rivals Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook could share the Lakers backcourt at times.

New Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he’s willing to pair them together, with one caveat.

“If they play defense,” Ham told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other media members. “We’ve got awhile. That’s still a ways off, but definitely. People get caught up in the starting lineups a lot, but you look at who is finishing games. Those starters, they’re out there to set that tone for the entire team throughout the game. But, I’m not scared of that. It’s definitely a bullet in the chamber. We’re looking forward to it man, those guys in the backcourt together.”

The introductory press conference for Beverley, who was acquired from the Jazz late last month, included a twist: It was attended by Westbrook, who even threw a towel to Beverley as he wiped away sweat after a workout.

Their rivalry goes back to the 2013 playoffs, when Beverley dove for a steal as Westbrook tried to call a timeout, resulting in Westbrook tearing his meniscus. They were talking trash to each other as recently as last season but now appear willing to coexist, the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike relays.

“A player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit, to have a running mate like that, I have never had that,” Beverley said of Westbrook. “So I am super excited to see where it goes. Obviously like any relationship or any marriage, things, we are going to have tough conversations. That is what comes with winning but I am excited about those conversations, I am excited about the practices.”

Both guards will be free agents next summer — Westbrook has an expiring $47MM deal, while Beverley is making $13MM during the upcoming season.

Beverley said he’s not going to change the culture of a team but he wants to play a role in its turnaround after it failed to make the playoffs last season.

“You can see all the banners, but you know, it’s what have you done for me lately?” he said. “And lately, haven’t been a good team.”

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Westbrook, Saric, Kings

Since the Lakers traded for veteran point guard Patrick Beverley, the future of 2021/22 starter Russell Westbrook has seemed murky. Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register wonders if the duo can actually share the floor together, or at the very least both stick around on the team this season.

Swanson reads tea leaves in recent public statements from head coach Darvin Ham and team owner Jeanie Buss that seem to suggest they appreciate Westbrook and his contributions to the club last year. Swanson writes that, because Beverley can function so well off the ball as a catch-and-shoot long range sniper, and can defend at least both guard positions, he could theoretically play alongside Westbrook, who tends to be significantly more ball-dominant.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • With Donovan Mitchell headed to the Cavaliers, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines that the Lakers could look to move Westbrook (and draft compensation) to the Jazz, who have already offloaded four of their best veteran players in separate deals this summer, including both their All-Stars. Woike writes that combo forward Bojan Bogdanovic should be L.A.’s top priority, and also floats the possibility of adding some combination of Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley and Rudy Gay into such a deal.
  • Suns reserve big man Dario Saric missed all of the 2021/22 season while he recovered from a ruptured ACL in his right knee suffered in the first game of the 2021 Finals. The 6’10” big man played well during the Croatian national team’s FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers in August, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
  • Three reserve point guards will be duking it out during the Kings‘ training camp later this month. James Ham of Kings Beat assesses each player in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses on the current Sacramento roster. As a former lottery pick, defensive-oriented second-year guard Davion Mitchell seems guaranteed to get some run behind pricey starter De’Aaron Fox. Ham predicts that Quinn Cook could have an edge over Matthew Dellavedova as the team’s third point guard option.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Beverley, Fournier

Despite frequent clashes in the past, Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley have been in contact since Beverley was acquired by the Lakers via trade from the Jazz, sources tell veteran reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link), who adds that head coach Darvin Ham has informed the two guards that he plans to utilize them together at times.

A report last week from Jovan Buha of The Athletic indicated that Beverley’s addition made Westbrook’s exit more likely, but Stein reported a few days ago that the Lakers have thus far resisted the Rockets’ approach with John Wall last season, having him sit out despite being healthy.

If that’s the case, it stands to reason that a trade would be the most viable path for L.A. to take with Westbrook’s $47.06MM expiring deal, though finding a taker will be easier said than done at the reported price point.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Steve Popper of Newsday suggests the Lakers might be interested in adding a shooter like Knicks wing Evan Fournier in a potential three-team trade between the Jazz, Knicks and Lakers that would send Donovan Mitchell to New York and Westbrook to Utah. Popper mentions Fournier because he’s been involved in trade talks for salary-matching purposes, but because it isn’t sourced, it might just be speculation on his part. Having said that, the Lakers do need shooting, and Fournier shot 38.9% from beyond the arc last season on high volume (7.7 attempts per game).
  • Could Westbrook be the missing piece in a Mitchell deal between the Jazz and Knicks? Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores that topic, floating the possibility of a three-team trade with the Lakers receiving Fournier and Cam Reddish from the Knicks and Bojan Bogdanovic from the Jazz.
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers are reportedly still interested in Reddish after trying to deal for him ahead of the deadline in February, we rounded up some Lakers rumors this morning, and recently examined their pre-camp roster situation as well.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, THT, Beverley, Schröder

It remains very possible that the Lakers move Russell Westbrook in a trade before the 2022/23 season begins, but if Rob Pelinka and his front office can’t find a deal they like, new head coach Darvin Ham is determined to “carve out a real role” for Westbrook, Marc Stein writes at Substack.

Sources tell Stein that the Lakers have thus far resisted the idea of taking the John Wall route with Westbrook and having him sit at home while he remains under contract with the team. The Rockets took that approach with Wall last season and spent the season exploring the trade market before eventually reaching a buyout agreement with the veteran point guard this summer, when he had one year left on his contract. Westbrook is entering the final year of his own deal.

As Stein observes, there were indications on social media last week that the Lakers are prepared to incorporate Westbrook if he’s not traded in the coming weeks. LeBron James tweeted that he expects his teammate to “go off” this season, and the Lakers’ official Twitter account included Westbrook in a series of videos and photos of players’ offseason workouts.

Here’s more from Stein on the Lakers:

  • League sources tell Stein that the Lakers initially resisted the idea of trading Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley when they started to discuss a potential deal with the Jazz in July, since L.A. wants to get younger and more athletic this season. However, after LeBron signed an extension, the club seemed more willing to shift into win-now mode, Stein writes, which made Beverley a better fit than Horton-Tucker.
  • Stein, who first reported last Tuesday that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to the idea of signing Dennis Schröder, says it’s unclear whether the acquisition of Beverley eliminates Schröder as a possibility. The team has a good deal of depth at point guard for the time being, with Westbrook, Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn all in the mix, but if Westbrook is traded, that might re-open the door for Schröder.
  • In case you missed it, we outlined on Friday why it will be challenging for the Lakers to include meaningful protections on their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks if they trade them.

Lakers’ Beverley Acquisition Makes Westbrook Exit More Likely

The Lakers‘ acquisition of Patrick Beverley on Thursday makes it more likely that Russell Westbrook will be off the team’s roster by the start of the season, a source close to the situation tells Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

According to Buha, a trade involving Westbrook is one possibility. Another would see the Lakers take the approach the Rockets did with John Wall last season, sending him home while the team continues to explore the trade market.

In addition to making Westbrook more expendable by giving the Lakers another veteran point guard to insert into their rotation, the trade for Beverley unites two players who have had their share of issues in the past.

Westbrook suffered a major knee injury in 2013 when Beverley attempted to steal the ball from him as Westbrook was calling a timeout. The two guards have since shared some choice words for one another in press conferences and on social media, with Beverley calling Westbrook “trash” during a game this March.

It’s not out of the question the two guards could make peace, but Buha refers to their feud as one of the NBA’s “most rancid” beefs, suggesting Westbrook has never forgiven Beverley for his role in that ’13 injury. If that’s the case, it would be further incentive for the Lakers to move on from Westbrook before the season begins.

One NBA executive who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes there are three “obvious” trade partners for the Lakers in any Westbrook deal. The Pacers and Spurs have the cap flexibility to make a deal work, while the Jazz have the highly-paid veterans who would be required for salary-matching purposes.

All three of those teams are in retooling mode and could be motivated to trade a productive player or two for Westbrook if significant draft compensation is attached to him — the former MVP would be unlikely to actually suit up for any of those clubs if he’s traded.

Myles Turner and Buddy Hield are the most obvious Lakers targets in Indiana and have been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason. Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson are among the Spurs players who could appeal to Los Angeles. And even after acquiring Beverley, the Lakers could have interest in other vets on Utah’s roster, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, and/or Malik Beasley.

All of those teams would be seeking at least one first-round pick – and probably two – from the Lakers in order to give up useful players in exchange for Westbrook and his oversized ($47MM+) cap hit. L.A. only has its 2027 and 2029 first-rounders available to trade due to the Stepien rule.

Reports last month indicated that the Lakers weren’t willing to offer both of those picks to the Pacers for Turner and Hield, but perhaps they would become more inclined to meet Indiana’s asking price after acquiring Beverley without surrendering any draft compensation.

Lakers/Jazz Trade Notes: Beverley, Next Steps, Trade Grades, THT

Veteran point guard Patrick Beverley has had quite the jet-setting summer. He was involved in a second offseason trade today when the Lakers acquired him from the Jazz, who had landed him as part of their return package for Rudy Gobert. Los Angeles sent Utah swingman Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Stanley Johnson in the exchange.

Due to his involvement in that Gobert trade, Beverley couldn’t have be been aggregated with the contract of another player prior to September 6 this year, when his aggregate restriction expires. However, as Bobby Marks of ESPN (YouTube video link) notes, the Jazz didn’t have to wait until September to move Beverley because he was traded on his own in the deal with the Lakers.

Marks opines that the 6’4″ Horton-Tucker – whom Marks considers essentially a small forward more than a shooting guard – and the 6’6″ Johnson, who played mostly at power forward with L.A., are the better players in the deal and says their athletic upside is worth the risk for the Jazz. However, Marks believes that, as long as he is able to stay healthy, Beverley will be a better fit with Los Angeles than Horton-Tucker or Johnson proved to be.

Here’s more news and notes following the deal:

  • In the wake of the Beverley trade, HoopsHype’s Yassi Gozlan considers possible next steps for both the Lakers and Jazz. Gozlan views Russell Westbrook as the next potential trade domino to fall in L.A., and expects Utah to consider offloading other veterans on its roster.
  • Both the Jazz and the Lakers benefited from the deal, per Zach Harper of The Athletic, who grades both clubs on the transaction. He notes that, in Beverley, the Lakers are adding a proven veteran poised to reinvigorate the club with contributions that go beyond the box score. On the Utah side of the equation, Harper writes that the Jazz are essentially banking on the 21-year-old Horton-Tucker’s potential.
  • Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated also weighed in with his own trade-grade column, giving both clubs mediocre, passing scores.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker will get plenty of opportunities to play with the ball in his hands in Utah, which could be the best use of his unique skill set and physical gifts, opines Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Horton-Tucker was a clunky fit in Los Angeles as a below-average three-point shooter who failed to consistently defend at a high level. As an athletic creator, Horton-Tucker has shown flashes of intrigue with his drive-and-kick playmaking. The Jazz will be able to give him more time to develop and improve in his current areas of strength, away from the win-now pressures of L.A.