Is Beverley signing with Lakers a sign Westbrook will be off the roster?

·3 min read
Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers

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 ending one of the most promising Thunder seasons). The animosity between the pair has continued over the years, with Westbrook doing his “rock the baby” on Beverley whenever he gets the chance, and Westbrook saying in 2019, “Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he playing defense. He don’t guard nobody, man. He just running around, doing nothing.” Beverley answered.

As of Thursday, Westbrook and Beverley are teammates after the Lakers traded for Beverley.

Can two players fueled by emotion put aside their long-standing beef to be teammates?

Or is this a sign that the Lakers are close to trading Westbrook before the start of training camp? Jovan Buha of The Athletic says a source told him that’s the case.

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.

LeBron may have hinted at it, too.

The question isn’t, ‘Do the Lakers want to trade Westbrook?’ GM Rob Pelinka has tried since the trade deadline back in February to find a deal that works, it’s just hard with Westbrook owed $47 million. Pelinka has shopped for a Westbrook trade all offseason but has not found a deal to his liking, partly because he would have to give up both of the Lakers’ tradable first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to make most of those deals. Los Angeles has hesitated to put both picks in any trade (except for Kyrie Irving). Also, the Lakers are carefully trying not to take on long-term salary, they want the money to chase free agents next summer (they could have a little more than $30 million as of right now).

The market isn’t going to change suddenly, so it would be up to the Lakers to change to get a deal done (and those picks alone may not be enough). For example, would the Lakers throw in 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 that trade still would not move the Lakers into contending status.

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 may 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 for less than half a season of Westbrook’s salary, a more palatable number). But for now, the Lakers don’t have good options, and a Westbrook and Beverley lineup at point guard could be in the Lakers’ short-term future.

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Is Beverley signing with Lakers a sign Westbrook will be off the roster? originally appeared on NBCSports.com