The Los Angeles Lakers are one of a few teams that are still looking to make roster upgrades with a month to go until training camp begins, and with the Kevin Durant saga over (for now), teams are going to be a bit more willing to make moves and fill up roster spots.
On Wednesday night, word broke late that the Lakers had made their first trade of the offseason, but one that doesn’t seem likely to be their last, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported they were finalizing a deal to send Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to Utah for Patrick Beverley, who joined the Jazz in the Rudy Gobert trade from Minnesota last month.
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/s4FjjrHu4qAdvertisement
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2022
Beverley will give L.A. the defensive-minded point guard they desire on a roster without that right now, and one would think this is a precursor to a deal that sends Russell Westbrook out. For one, Beverley and Westbrook have a rather long history of not liking each other, but the fact that the Lakers clear an additional roster spot, dropping down to 13 by sending Horton-Tucker and Johnson out and only taking Beverley back, means they can more easily add multiple players for Westbrook (which is necessary given his massive contract).
We’ll see if that’s the long-rumored deal with the Pacers that would bring Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to L.A., or if there’s another Westbrook suitor out there, but this is the first real indication that the Lakers have traction on an offseason plan to reshape the roster beyond minimum signings. Beverley, to his credit, manifested this back in May when he went on ESPN and said the Lakers were his top destination if he weren’t on the Wolves — and claimed his presence alone would’ve gotten L.A. to the playoffs last year.