Clippers Veteran and League Lightning Rod Reportedly Open to Contract Extension

Patrick Beverley

Getty Beverley hears the cheers from Jackson

Los Angeles Clippers point guard and defensive thorn Patrick Beverley, who recently came under widespread criticism for his actions in the Western Conference finals, is open to a contract extension with the team, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Scotto reported the news during a recent episode of the HoopsHype podcast, citing a team source.

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A three-time All-Defensive selection over nine seasons in the league, Beverley made $13.3 million this past season and will make $14.3 million for 2021-22 before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022.

Patrick Beverley

GettyPat Bev gets swarmed by Mann and George

Beverley arrived in 2017 from Houston as part of the Chris Paul trade and inked a 3-year, $40 million deal with the Clippers in the summer of 2019. Back then, Beverley told The Los Angeles Times that before signing with the Clippers, he turned down a lucrative offer from the Sacramento Kings that would have made him about $10 million richer.

“I’m told Beverley loves playing in LA with the Clippers,” said Scotto on Wednesday. “He’s a big fan of Steve Ballmer as an owner, and that (president of basketball operations) Lawrence Frank has been great to Pat and his family.”

Beverley’s 2021 Was a Season of Highs and Lows

For a player who does his best work (ie annoying the living tuna fish out of opposing ball handlers) at maximum capacity, the regular season was a frustrating one for Beverley. He suffered a broken hand in mid-April, only two games after coming back from a 12-game hiatus due to knee soreness. Between the hand and knee, Beverley missed a total of 35 regular-season games, managing just 7.5 points, 2.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds when available.

Fully healed as the postseason began, Beverley started Games 1 and 2 against Dallas in the first round. But despite shooting 4-for-6 in Game 1, Beverley saw his series minutes diminish rapidly as he struggled to stop Dallas’ 6-foot-7 superstar point guard Luka Doncic, who relentlessly backed down the 6-foot-1 guard, getting him into early foul trouble and limiting his effectiveness on the perimeter. Over Games 3, 4 and 5, Beverley played just 11 minutes and did not see any time in Games 6 and 7.

Beverley, though, vindicated himself in the next series against the Jazz, coming off the bench to help the Clippers employ an aggressive, trapping-style defense to stifle the top-seeded Jazz. He was a plus-19 in the clinching Game 6, posting 12 points, four assists and three steals.

In the Western Conference finals against Phoenix, Beverley regained his starting role beginning in Game 2 and was a major pest against the Suns’ Devin Booker. He unintentionally broke Booker’s nose on a lunging swipe for the ball in Game 2 and drew an offensive foul on the star in the game’s waning moments, helping the Clippers gain the lead before DeAndre Ayton’s stunning alley-oop dunk at the buzzer put the Clippers down 0-2.

Beverley was a plus-24 in the Clippers’ Game 3 win and was effective in another victory in Game 5, but could not contain his frustration as the Suns blew out the Clippers in Game 6 to take the series. With 5:49 remaining in the fourth and his team down 26, Beverley viciously shoved Suns point guard Chris Paul to the ground, drawing the scorn of viewers and a one-game suspension heading into next season. (Beverley apologized to Paul the next morning via Twitter.)

An Extension Has Advantages and Drawbacks

Signing Beverley to an extension this offseason could be beneficial to both team and player, but there are also drawbacks to any potential deal.

For Beverley, in light of his injury troubles this season, and given the health risks that will always accompany his aggressive style of play, locking in a deal with the Clippers would bring guaranteed money for the next few years. It would also give him the opportunity to stick with a team that, presuming Kawhi Leonard re-signs, is expected to be a title contender for the foreseeable future.

On the Clippers end, given the uncertainty of guard Reggie Jackson, who is an unrestricted free agent and could be seeking a more lucrative deal than the Clippers can offer, as well as the diminished effectiveness of aging veteran Rajon Rondo, re-upping Beverley gives them the security of having a player who is just as comfortable coming off the bench as he is starting and someone who can be plugged into defensive situations as needed.

But the Clippers are also reportedly looking to upgrade at point guard this offseason, and Beverley’s name has been mentioned often as a possible trade asset. If moving Beverley, as part of a bigger deal that could bring in a more traditional point guard, is indeed a possibility, giving him more money and years could impede the Clippers’ efforts to find a willing buyer. On the other hand, it could make him more attractive for a trade, as any willing team would thereby be off the hook for negotiating a new deal in 2022, what would have been Beverley’s summer of free agency.

Ultimately, the Clippers may simply decide that it’s better to have Beverley on their side than be forced to deal with him on another team.

“Beverley is the type of guy who you want on your team as a rugged defender and not a guy you want to go up against,” said Scotto.

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