Bulls’ Patrick Beverley Changes Tune on Lakers’ Potential Championship Run

Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls

Getty Patrick Beverley #21 of the Chicago Bulls and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Clippers.

They did not always get along but Chicago Bulls guard Patrick Beverley and Los Angeles Clippers star Russell Westbrook have more in common than their looming unrestricted free agency this summer.

“I’m working out…Russell Westbrook walks in,” Beverley said on ‘#REALONESLIVE’ via the Pat Bev Podcast with Rone YouTube channel on May 3. “Rusty goes, ‘Hey Pat, Lakers win, I want my ring’.”

Beverley’s response may be somewhat of a surprise.

“‘I ain’t gon lie, Russ,” Beverley recalled he told his former teammate was once his nemesis. We gonna be suited and booted. Boy, I’m going to be right there waiting on that ring’.”

It was just a few months ago when Beverley said that he wanted to put an end to the Lakers’ playoff hopes as they were sitting precariously in the Play-In Tournament field, just as the Bulls were down the stretch. Unlike the Bulls, who could not climb out of 10th in the Eastern Conference, the Lakers climbed up to the seven-seed in a cluttered West.

The home-and-home showdown resulted in a split but also saw Beverley show up Lakers’ star LeBron James with a “too small” gesture.

That favor was returned in the second leg of the two-part series by L.A. guard Austin Reaves.

Beverley began the season with the Lakers but said he demanded a trade because they were not using him right.

“If I’m a spoon, [Bulls head coach Billy Donovan] is using me as a spoon,” Beverley said of his fit with his new squad, per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. “The Lakers, you know, I was a spoon and they used me as a fork.”

The Lakers also made a flurry of moves at the trade deadline to bolster the roster, shipping out Beverley to the Orlando Magic and also sending Westbrook to the Utah Jazz. The 11-year NBA veteran Beverley was waived by Orlando and joined his hometown Bulls only to miss out on the postseason for the first time in his career. Westbrook was bounced in the first round with the Clippers who he joined after securing a buyout from Utah.

Patrick Beverley Pulls Curtain Back on NBA Players

An undrafted free agent, Beverley had to work his way into the league after three years spent playing overseas. That journey has given him an eye for who is and isn’t in love with the game of basketball.

According to Beverley, at least half of the players in the league don’t have that passion for the game despite reaching the highest level.

“And I was being nice,” he said on the May 3 episode of his podcast.

The Bulls went 14-9 down the stretch and Beverley played a big part in that, empowering Zach LaVine to shoot first, pass later and he was also shouted out by Coby White who credited Beverley’s leadership through adversity.

“Since we added [Pat Bev], he’s been a big help,” White told the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast crew after the Bulls’ win over the Memphis Grizzlies on April 2. “Giving us encouragement, positivity, and – him being a veteran – just leaning on him. So he’s been a big help in that area for us.”

Insider Sheds Light on Beverley’s Future With Bulls

Despite that record and the positive impact he has had, Beverley’s time in a Bulls jersey could be short-lived. He said in a previous installment of his podcast that he sees no reason why his market should fall below $13 million to $15 million depending on the CBA.

What are the chances he gets that kind of money from the cash-strapped and generally salary-cap-conscious Bulls?

“If he wants $15 million, as he said on his podcast, extremely small,” writes NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson. “The Bulls only have non-Bird rights on Beverley, meaning they only can sign him using the veteran’s minimum exception of $3.2 million or a $3.8 million salary unless they want to use some or all of their midlevel exception for a larger payday.”

This could come down to who blinks first.