When the Los Angeles Lakers trade for Patrick Beverley was finalized on Thursday, it instantly increased the possibility that Russell Westbrook has played his final game for his hometown team.

Per The Athletic's Jovan Buha:

“Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team sending him home a la the Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation.

…this isn’t the Lakers’ final roster. Another move is coming at some point. They are unlikely to make another deal right away, but the team is still actively pursuing Westbrook deals and other avenues to improve the roster before training camp, according to league sources.”

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Buha is well-connected to the Lakers, so his intel should be taken seriously. From the outside looking in, that Beverley's arrival could spearhead Westbrook's departure makes sense on a number of levels.

First, the two 34-year-olds have publicly beefed for years. It seemingly began in the first round of the 2013 postseason, when Beverley lunged into Westbrook's leg. Russ tore his meniscus, was “irate” with PatBev, and missed the rest of the playoffs, derailing the title hopes for the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.

In 2014, Beverley tried the same move again, causing Westbrook to (understandably) lose his cool. They exchanged words in the 2017 postseason, then Beverley again(!) dove into Westbrook's knees in 2018. The following year, Westbrook famously claimed Beverley “trick y'all” into thinking he's an elite defender. Last season, Beverley repeatedly called Westbrook “trash” (there are more chapters to the story).

But let's say they did resolve their personal issues, which Beverley, at least, seems ready to do. In terms of basketball, Westbrook had been the lone point guard on the Lakers roster (Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, and, of course, LeBron James will run some point). Darvin Ham wants his role players to play with defensive intensity, make open shots, move off-ball, and provide hustle and grit. Beverley satisfies those demands perfectly — as Rob Pelinka noted in his statement announcing the trade — while Westbrook fired his agent rather than embrace that type of role. It's entirely plausible that Beverley is a more useful player alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis.


There's a zero percent chance that Russ would accept a backup gig to Beverley — for pride and personal reasons. Westbrook's presence in camp was already going to be tense and distracting considering the front office and LeBron's well-known preference to trade him, his flame-throwing exit interview, and his disastrous on-court fit.

Westbrook at training camp would create a toxic atmosphere. Shedding him is addition by subtraction. If no optimal trade materializes by the end of September, sending him home — which the Lakers initially resisted, along with using the stretch provision — and dealing him closer to the deadline or allowing his $47 million to come off the books is the right call.

Now, with another starting caliber point guard on the roster who happens to be Westbrook's biggest nemesis, it looks as though the Lakers' first trade of the summer is a precursor to a divorce from Westbrook.