Might a return to Minneapolis be in the cards for Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley?
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the beloved folk hero has interest in rejoining the Minnesota Timberwolves if he were to be traded to a team that then buys him out.
“Los Angeles’ primary trade efforts at this juncture have centered around a much smaller outgoing package of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected future first, sources told Yahoo Sports,” Fischer wrote.
“Should Beverley ultimately get moved to a rebuilding situation like the Pistons, the grizzled guard has a desire to return to Minnesota, sources said, should he reach free agency via buyout.”
Outside of Anthony Edwards, with whom Beverley made plenty of memories down the stretch of last season, Pat Bev endeared himself to the Target Center crowds more than any first-year Timberwolves player in recent memory.
The two-way tone-setter played a pivotal role in leading the team to the playoffs last season for just the second time in nearly two decades. He scored 9.2 points on 40.6/34.3/72.2 shooting to go along with 4.1 rebounds, a career-high 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game across 58 games for the Wolves a season ago.
Unfortunately, Beverley is struggling this season with the Lakers. Whether or not he has lost a step is yet to be determined, but the 34-year-old is averaging 4.6 points on 30.3/25.4/76.0 shooting splits, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists to 0.9 turnovers, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game across 21 games for L.A., all starts.
Although, regardless of his numbers, Beverley coming back to Minnesota would be an upgrade in the leadership, consistency, and ‘care factor’ departments, all of which the Timberwolves are currently struggling in. Talent isn’t the issue.
The contingent piece of a potential deal would likely be that Beverley understands his role last season wouldn’t be his role this season. He may not even be guaranteed a spot in the regular rotation if he comes back, considering the positions Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell have carved out for themselves this season.
However, Minnesota needs additional perimeter defenders and cannot rely solely on Jaden McDaniels to carry the load in that department. Despite Beverley’s age (34) and the fact that he has played more than 50 games just twice in the last three seasons, he showed a consistently high-level ability to bother Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant in the playoffs and held his matchups to 3/14 (21.4%) shooting in the Play-In Game last season.
Bring.— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) December 15, 2022
Now, that’s not to say Beverley should be expected to do that if he returns to the Wolves, but he can certainly help and provide depth to an evident weak spot on the team. Not to mention he already has well-documented, strong relationships with Wolves Head Coach Chris Finch, Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns, even after his mid-summer trade to the Utah Jazz (and then on to the Lakers), and has familiarity with ex-Los Angeles Clippers teammate Austin Rivers.
The Timberwolves have the cap flexibility to add a player in the buy-out market on a minimum contract, especially if that happens before January 10, 2023, when Naz Reid, Jaylen Nowell and Nathan Knight’s contracts all become fully guaranteed for the rest of the season. About one-third ($612,030) of Rivers’ $1,836,090 cap hit becomes guaranteed on that date. Bryn Forbes is on a fully guaranteed one-year deal.
If the team were to sign Beverley to a veteran’s minimum deal prorated for the rest of the season, they would have to waive a player before then, as the Wolves currently do not have an open roster spot. Minnesota currently has nearly $3.06 million in space below the luxury tax, according to Spotrac.