Patrick Beverley was introduced as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, and Russell Westbrook was in attendance. Fans had been waiting to see how the two veteran point guards would interact with one another, and so far it has been pleasant.
For those unaware about the history between Beverley and Westbrook, the two players have had one of the most contentious beefs in the NBA for several years. Westbrook felt Beverley made a dirty play in the 2013 playoffs, which resulted in a season-ending injury. From then on, the two players would get into it nearly every time they played.
Their beef truly peaked in 2019 when Westbrook made his “Pat Bev trick ya’ll” comments, claiming that Beverley actually does nothing on the court, and is simply just running around. When asked about these comments, Beverley said that Westbrook “damaged” his career.
During this same season, which was a disaster for Westbrook and the Lakers, Beverley threw these comments back at Westbrook in a Tweet that called him “the real magician.”
The beef is clearly personal, but now that the two players are teammates, can they move beyond it? Some felt as if it would perhaps be unnecessary, with the Lakers seeking a trade for Westbrook; however, with those talks yet to generate a deal, the two players may need to play together.
Can the two make peace?
While Patrick Beverley admitted that he and Russell Westbrook will need to have some difficult conversations at some point, he also said on Tuesday that he’s excited to play with Westbrook, and believes the two players compliment each other well. Jovan Buha of The Athletic was present at the presser, and reported Beverley’s full comments.
Westbrook has yet to answer any questions about now having Beverley as a teammate, but his presence at the introductory press conference was a good sign that the two are willing to move beyond their past. Both players shared a brief handshake as Beverley entered, which was another good sign that they are ready to put their beef behind them.
Is there a deeper meaning here?
It is no secret that the Lakers have been shopping Westbrook this summer. Westbrook knows this, his agency knows this, and everyone involved with the Lakers knows this. Had the team been close on a deal that would send Westbrook elsewhere, it seems logical to assume that he would not be around the facility, let alone present at his rival’s press conference.
As the season grows nearer, and Westbrook remains a Laker, the team must shift their focus to maximizing his ability. Now having traded for Patrick Beverley, part of that maximization is focused on that relational element. If a Westbrook trade were imminent, would the team have even bothered having him and Beverley make peace? It’s hard to say definitively; however, if Westbrook’s presence at Tuesday’s presser means anything, it’s that he may very well begin this season with the Lakers.