4. Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have a fever, and the only prescription for that fever is trimming some of their backcourt depth. (And more cowbell.)
The Clippers spent a pair of late lottery picks on two backcourt prospects, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, who now join an assortment of veterans including Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams. Throw in Tyrone Wallace, who L.A. retained when the New Orleans Pelicans tried to pry him away with an offer sheet, and something’s gotta give.
The Phoenix Suns are still hunting for a veteran point guard to complement rookies Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton, and Beverly was “at the top of their list” in mid-September, according to Stadium’s Shams Charania. The Suns “view him as a guy that could come in and play a very good complementary role to Devin Booker,” Charania reported, although the Clippers likewise view him as “a culture-setter.”
According to Charania, Phoenix has “only been willing to give up second-round picks” in its discussions for Beverley and other point guards, while L.A. is holding out for a first-rounder. The inability to acquire a veteran floor general may have been the final straw for former general manager Ryan McDonough, who lost his job eight days before the start of the regular season, but the Suns still have yet to rectify that problem.
Beverley is on a $5 million expiring contract, and it doesn’t become fully guaranteed until Jan. 10, which makes him particularly enticing trade bait. Although he’s likely to outperform his salary, a team in desperate need of salary-cap relief could attempt to acquire him only to turn around and quickly waive him.
The Clippers figure to start Beverley at point guard, which should in turn boost his trade value. Given how many teams are projected to have cap space next summer, their odds of retaining him beyond this year appear slim, which makes him a logical candidate to dangle ahead of the trade deadline.