Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook have seemingly quashed their beef. Westbrook was on hand at his newest teammate’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, and it was all love. Of course Beverley and Westbrook have had a contentious relationship for the last nine seasons, dating back to the time Beverley, then a member of the Houston Rockets, injured Westbrook, then a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the playoffs.
“Love that brother,” an appreciative Beverley said after Westbrook tossed him a towel. “First dime of the year.”
Pat Beverley and Russell Westbrook greeting each other after Pat’s press conference pic.twitter.com/p02AC9O1kh
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 6, 2022
“Super excited,” Beverley interrupted when asked about his relationship and fit with Westbrook. “I was asked this question two, three years ago, [about] someone I always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name. I have [known] Bron since I was a baby, a rookie in this league, so obviously I want to play with him.
“But 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. 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. I am just excited to be able to compete with someone like that.”
The first time those two scrimmage in practice on opposing teams they’ll probably come to blows. That’s what happens when two hyper-competitive, alpha types are competing for something. Maybe this type of intense competition will bring an edge and a nastiness to the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
In 2020 when the Lakers won the title they were the third-ranked defense in aDRTG. In 2021 they were No. 1 but were hindered by injuries in the postseason. Those teams had an identity.
Beverley said he’s looking forward to the difficult conversations with Westbrook. You think they’re going to talk about the time Westbrook said, “Pat Bev, tricking y’all man. He don’t play no defense”?
Or when Beverley fired back during the Lakers’ horrendous season last year.
“I remember when somebody said all I do is run around and I trick y’all,” Beverley tweeted. “Well my boy is The Real Magician this year.”
I remember when somebody said all I do is run around and I trick y’all 😂 well my boy is The Real Magician this year.
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) February 10, 2022
Players that once had beef become teammates all the time, this is the NBA. Who knows how long they’ll actually remain teammates. Westbrook has been on the trading block all summer. His expiring contract might prove valuable to a team whose fortunes change midseason and is looking to clear cap space for next summer.
For now they are teammates, and Beverley said his goal is to help the team return to the playoffs.
“I just feel like they didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Beverley said when asked about coming to a team with 17 championship banners. “We’re being honest, that’s just the truth, so you can see all the banners, but you know, it’s what have you done for me lately? And lately, [the Lakers] haven’t been a good team. And I’m here. Obviously, Coach Ham is here.”
Beverley and his level of intensity might be the spark the team needs to change the competitive spirit.
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