A former Los Angeles Lakers rival has admitted that he wants to play with LeBron James.
On May 12, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley was a guest on ESPN’s “NBA Today” and the former Los Angeles Clippers star said James is the one superstar he would play with if he could pick one.
“Bron. Easy. Top dog,” Beverley said.
Beverley played four seasons for the Clippers. He was a pest against James and the Lakers and loved beating the purple and gold.
However, the Chicago native requested a trade from the Clippers last summer and was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies then traded him to the Timberwolves, who gave Beverley a one-year extension worth $13 million.
Beverley Loves Toying with James
Beverley and the Timberwolves blew out James and the Lakers on March 16 by a final score of 124-104. During the second quarter with the Timberwolves up 62-44, Beverley flexed and yelled at James and tapped the King on the behind.
Even though James and Beverley have gotten into it several times, they are friends. The latter recently thanked the former and called him “big bro” on Twitter.
James and Beverley both become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2023. It’s doubtful James would leave Los Angeles for Minnesota, so the two paths for these players to become teammates are the Lakers trading for Beverley this offseason or signing him in 2023.
Beverley Would Be a Good Fit for Lakers
Beverley is one of the best defenders in the NBA. He’s made the All-Defensive team three times and averages 1.1 steals for his career.
The Lakers need an elite defender and Beverley fits that bill. Los Angeles gave up 115.1 points per game this season, which was 28th of 30, and had a defensive rating of 113.3, 21st of 30.
Beverley had a defensive rating of 110.8 this season for the Timberwolves. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 40.6% from the field, 34.3% from beyond the arc and 72.2% from the free-throw line. Beverley made 83 3-pointers, which was more than Russell Westbrook, who hit 79.
Speaking of Westbrook, he and Beverley don’t like each other, so the Lakers would certainly have to part ways with Russ to acquire Beverley. Per ESPN’s trade machine, Los Angeles could trade Westbrook to Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell and Beverley. Russell and Beverley would fit well with James and Anthony Davis since they can shoot the ball from the perimeter.
Westbrook was second in the NBA in turnovers this season and his effective field goal percentage of 47.6% was sixth-worst in the league. He shot 29.8% from beyond the arc and got trolled by Beverley on March 16.
The Lakers have many decisions to make this offseason. They have a league-high 13 free agents. James, Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves (non-guaranteed) are the only players under contract for next season. Westbrook has a player option worth $47,063,478 and Keith Smith of Spotrac believes it would be a “complete shock” if the one-time MVP doesn’t pick it up.
Since Beverley has openly said he would like to play with James, the Lakers should figure out a way to acquire the Arkansas product. His defense, toughness, passion and competitiveness could help James and Davis get back to the promised land.