Things are about to get awkward at the Los Angeles Lakers. Even more awkward.
We already know Russell Westbrook wants out of the Lakers, with his former longtime agent Thad Foucher making as much clear when the pair parted ways back in July.
Foucher said “irreconcilable differences” were behind that split, namely Westbrook’s preference to not play for the Lakers.
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Well, now things are going to get even more uncomfortable for Westbrook, as long as he still stays put at L.A. this upcoming season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed on Thursday afternoon that the Lakers are in advanced talks to trade to acquire Utah Jazz guard Patrick Beverley for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.
Wojnarowski said the deal is expected to be finalised on Thursday morning [local time] and that no picks are involved in the deal.
In case you did not know, the veteran point guard has quite the history with Westbrook.
Only last season, Beverley appeared to taunt Westbrook, saying “he’s trash, trash” before plugging his nose in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 124-104 win over the Lakers.
The pair’s history goes back to November, 2019 when James Harden dropped 47 points in a game while then playing for the Houston Rockets.
He was primarily guarded by Beverley in that game and Westbrook, who was Harden’s teammate at the time, took a shot at Beverley after that effort, saying: “Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he playing defence”.
“He don’t guard nobody, man. It’s just running around, doing nothing. … All that commotion to get 47,” Westbrook added.
That was not lost on Beverley who then took aim at Westbrook on social media earlier this year as trade rumours swirled amid his issues on the court.
“I remember when somebody said all I do is run around and I trick y’all,” Beverley tweeted, with a laughing emoji. “well my boy is The Real Magician this year.”
Beverley doubled down by claiming that Westbrook “damaged” his career with the criticism of his defence.
“Coaching staffs, players, fans, they looked at me way different,” Beverley said on J.J. Redick’s podcast.
“I’m like, ‘What the f***?’ All because of what one person said, and that’s how the media is. If one person says one thing, that’s how they take it. And they take it just for that. People really looked at it like, ‘Yeah, maybe this motherf***er don’t play defence.
“The only thing he does is run around.’ So, obviously, I had one bad game. ‘Oh Russ was right. I knew this motherf***er; the only thing he did is run around and stuff like that.’ You know, it’s no fun when the rabbit gots the gun now. Forgiven but not forgotten.”
Now, the two will have to co-exist as teammates.
That is, of course, unless the Lakers find a suitable team to trade Westbrook to before the season starts.
The 33-year-old is owed $47 million ($68m) in the 2022-23 campaign, having averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists last season.