Jeanie Buss has finally addressed the LA Lakers' trade move to trade for former Utah Jazz guard Patrick Beverley. The point guard's arrival is seen by most as the end of Russell Westbrook's tenure at Lakerland.
The Lakers' team governor, on The Athletic’s NBA Show, dismissed those reports as nothing more than make-believe stories. She compared the Beverley situation to the Lakers’ acquisition of Matt Barnes and the narrative of his testy relationship with Kobe Bryant.
Here’s Jeanie Buss explaining the idea behind the trade for Beverley and his future with Russell Westbrook:
“I remember all the videos that circulated when the Lakers brought in Matt Barnes and his relationship with Kobe over the years as one of the best defenders of Kobe and now he becomes teammates with Kobe. We’ve seen these storylines before.
“Pat Beverley was put here to play defense, to be that guy that knows how to push his teammates, sets an example with how he approaches his job.
"He just brings that work ethic that we value, that coach Ham values and is going to be a leader in the locker room. It has nothing to do with Russ. People love to pull up storylines and create something, but that isn’t the case.”
Jeanie Buss is counting on the professionalism of Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley to set aside their long-running and nasty feud. The two guards have been going at it for nearly a decade since Beverley accidentally injured Westbrook in the 2013 NBA playoffs.
The Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes reference isn’t too accurate. Bryant and Barnes never had the sort of animosity that is currently brewing between Beverley and Westbrook. The new teammates’ beef is something intense and personal.
Just a few months earlier, Patrick Beverley was on JJ Redick’s 'The Old Man and The Three' podcast. During the interview, he mentioned the impact of his feud with Russell Westbrook:
"He damaged my career. Coaching staffs, players, fans, they looked at me way different."
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Jeanie Buss may be hoping against hope that both players can iron out their differences, considering the personalities and egos involved.
Jeanie Buss and the LA Lakers are asking Russell Westbrook to be Patrick Beverley
Darvin Ham previously mentioned that Russell Westbrook’s role was to become a 'pit bull' on the defensive end. The new head coach and GM Rob Pelinka have reportedly implored the former scoring champ to play 'championship-level' defense.
In another later interview, Ham added that Anthony Davis will be the hub of the LA Lakers’ offense with LeBron James as the playmaker.
The Lakers are hoping Russell Westbrook will perform the role Patrick Beverley has been earning a living for. While 'Russ' has never been the player the Lakers are asking him to be, Beverley has carved a name for himself with such responsibilities.
If the former MVP is not traded, it’s easy to see a situation where 'Russ' gets benched for Beverley. Jeanie Buss may not want to see an already volatile relationship explode in the LA Lakers' faces if something of that sort happens.