The Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to chase down their rivals, the newly-minted (again) NBA champion Golden State Warriors. And on Wednesday they took a step to upgrade their roster, trading Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for veteran point guard Patrick Beverley.
Lakers and Jazz are expected to finalize the deal on Thursday morning, delivering Beverley to LA after a brief stayover with Jazz. No picks involved in the deal, per sources. https://t.co/s4FjjrHu4q— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2022
From a Warriors standpoint, there’s a lot to enjoy about this trade. I woke up to “Jordan Poole” trending on social media and was worried something had happened. But no. Fans were just poking fun at the Lakers for trading a player their fanbase had compared to Poole for something relatively small. I’d say that comparison is not particularly apt anymore.
It also puts Beverley a step closer to the Warriors, which is a great time to think of when he told Steph Curry that the next five years were his.
It never gets old. It really never gets old.
Jokes aside, it’s a trade that makes the Lakers better. Beverley is a quality player. He’s a defensive pest, and plays Curry and Klay Thompson quite well. He’s a decent three-point shooter, a solid ball-handler, and a highly-intelligent player. He’ll help the Lakers previously-paltry defensive backcourt, and give them a starting point guard to slide into the lineup if they’re able to find a way to get rid of Russell Westbrook’s contract.
And he’s the type of frustrating player that will make games between the two teams that much more fun.
But while it’s a good move, it’s not a needle mover. The Lakers — who missed the playoffs a year ago — are chasing the Warriors. Having a potentially healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis might get them close, but it’s unlikely to get them close enough. Beverley helps the cause, but he’s not pushing them over the edge.
The rivalry may be renewed on Opening Night, but there’s still a clear big brother between the two teams.