The Los Angeles Lakers and Patrick Beverley are reunited. Yes… reunited. In the 2009 NBA Draft, they selected Beverley coming out of the University of Arkansas with their 42nd pick. Of course, he never played with the franchise but either way, a decade and change later he will play in the purple and gold as the following was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
The Los Angeles Lakers are in advanced talks on a trade to acquire Utah Jazz guard Patrick Beverley for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson, sources tell ESPN. Deal could be finalized as soon as Thursday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2022
Things are reportedly dead on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trade front. It was expected that the Lakers would start exploring other options to improve their team. Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson were two of the younger Lakers with many questions surrounding their roles this season. A lot of their summer acquisitions overlapped their ideal spots in the rotation as creators and defenders, respectively.
One of the more underrated parts of the transaction are the contracts of Beverley and THT. Beverley’s $13 million deal expires at the end of the 2022-23 season. Horton-Tucker had a player option for $11 million that he could either pick up or opt out of for free agency. Moving him now takes that off the books for the Lakers.
Next season, even after extending LeBron James, the Lakers will have a little bit of free agency money to spend. Per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
The Lakers could get up to $20.1 million in cap space next summer if the cap does land at $133 million and Talen Horton-Tucker picks up his $11 million player option for the 2023-24 season. That figure could jump to $31.5 million if both Horton-Tucker and Jones opt out.
As far as the basketball fit, the Lakers get a winner of a defensive player as well as a vocal leader alongside their two superstars. Beverley brings intensity and a personality that the team hasn’t had during the LeBron tenure, maybe aside from Rajon Rondo. It also helps that he’s a respectable shooter, boasting a 37.8% career average from the three-point line.
The elephant in the room remains in Russell Westbrook being on the roster. Russ and Pat Bev are pretty much-sworn basketball enemies. The odds are that Westbrook is the next domino to fall, and that will eliminate a potentially awkward situation going into training camp. If Russ doesn’t get moved then… look out.
There’s still a lot of basketball left to come over the next month. By then, all bets would likely indicate that the Lakers will finalize their roster, and we get a look at the actual team they hope to bounce back from last season. Whether it’s continued transactions with the Jazz or maybe the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers seem poised to make another deal. The position that deal puts them in will be interesting from a basketball and future financial perspective.
All I know is that it must live up to the commitment that LeBron and Anthony Davis have given the franchise into the latter years of their high-level play. Getting them a guy like Patrick Beverley is a solid start.