In just a few words, Patrick Beverley said it all.
The NBA veteran and infamous provocateur was traded by the Lakers at the deadline to the Orlando Magic in exchange for center Mo Bamba, spending just a half-season in Los Angeles with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With the Lakers still struggling to fight for a playoff spot, Beverley sounded off on an episode of “The Pat Bev Podcast with Rone” to discuss the team’s underlying issues.
“It wasn’t basketball,” said Beverley, who was waived by the Magic on Sunday and is a free agent.
“It wasn’t basketball. It wasn’t basketball. It was other s–t. But other s–t that you really can’t like pin or point out. You know, comes and goes. You know, a little bit here, a little bit there.”
As of Wednesday, the Lakers are 26-32, 2 1/2 games back from the Utah Jazz for the final seed in the play-in tournament. Even with James and Davis healthy, the playoffs look like a stretch – and Beverley seemed to think the team had issues that stretched beyond the court.
Perhaps one of those issues was Russell Westbrook, who was a brutal fit in Los Angeles for his 130 games there between 2021 and 2023. The Lakers did trade him, too, at the deadline, securing a number of pieces including point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange. Westbrook was sent to the Jazz, though a buyout is expected in the coming days.
A source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that Westbrook was like a “vampire” in the locker room – much to the chagrin of Westbrook’s wife, Nina, who sounded off on social media about the report.
“This is just sick ESPN… Russell is no vampire,” Nina wrote on social media. “This also slander because anyone who knows anything knows that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Beverley defended Westbrook on the same episode.
“You see how Russ is every game day, the first person in the locker room. Every single game. And I’m on the first bus. LeBron on the first bus too. There are some vets in the league that only take the third bus,” Beverley said.
“That’s my dog. Lifetime,” he added.
The Lakers have gone 1-2 since Westbrook left the team, though that did include a road victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
It remains to be seen if Los Angeles can rally in the season’s final month-and-a-half, though Beverley doesn’t seem overly optimistic.