Patrick Beverley Sends Strong Message to Bulls Teammate Zach LaVine

Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls

Getty Patrick Beverley of the Chicago Bulls.

Things have already gotten interesting for the Chicago Bulls after they signed veteran point guard Patrick Beverley to a contract for the rest of the season.

The out-spoken 10-year veteran is already looking to push the right buttons for his new squad.

“I’m going to be on Zach LaVine a**,” Beverley told Adam Ferrone on ‘The Pat Bev Podcast’ on February 21. “I’m going to give him all the energy he need – destroy people. Me and DeMar DeRozan, we good. I got a popping 5, [Nikola] Vucevic. I’m excited man. I’m really excited.”

In a season that has featured multiple team meetings and face-to-faces with DeRozan, LaVine could probably use someone on the floor to keep him engaged during the slog of some games.

The outspoken Beverley surely can do that.

“It’s hard to kind of judge me from all the outside stuff,” Beverley said. “A lot of people think what I do is putting on a lot of antics and all that extra s***. When in reality — when I’m on your team and I’m your teammate and I’m your player and you’re my coach — you get a different vibe. You’re like, ‘Man, this is m***********, he’ll do anything for the team.”

Beverley’s reputation as a button-pusher is partially why he is in Chicago joining a Bulls team that has suffered from lapses in intensity all season. So much so that veteran Goran Dragic flat out said the starting unit needed a point guard even before the Bulls’ interest in Beverley was reported.

“I do think the starting unit needs a point guard, that’s for sure,” said Dragic, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Bulls set about trying to find a replacement for injured point guard Lonzo Ball who has been out since last January recovering from multiple surgeries, first to repair a torn meniscus and then to address pain in his knee, the latter of which remains an issue.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas officially ended Ball’s season on February 21.

“Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball continues to experience performance limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities,” Karnisovas said in a statement. “Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness to return-to-play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season. The focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.”

Beverley figures to join the starting lineup, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, replacing second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu.

But he also figures to fill a major void in vocal leadership that continues to plague this team.

“I impact winning,” Beverley said when asked what he will bring to the team. “I’m shooting 40[% from three-point range]. Actually playing some of my best basketball. Yuo can pull up my numbers. My numbers right now are better my numbers in Minnesota was last season.”

Last season, Beverley averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals as he helped the Timberwolves snap a three-year playoff drought. He’s averaged 7.9 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.7 boards since December 9 and, to his point, has shot 42.4% from beyond the arc in that 27-game span.

Bulls Need a Leader

“LaVine is now the second leading voice of the locker room,” writes Mayberry. “But it appears, judging by his growing look of exasperation, he has run out of answers…Vučević might be the nicest guy on the team. If he isn’t, it’s third-year forward Patrick Williams, whom DeRozan and LaVine still tease like a rookie…Alex Caruso is the team’s most vocal leader but bounces in and out of the lineup and is limited skill-wise. Dosunmu has embraced every aspect of leadership even as a pup but still is finding his way. Goran Dragić is the only other player with the gravitas to speak up.”

Ironically, Dragic’s spot-on assessment could see him shown the door.

Already a buyout candidate, the addition of Beverley adds to an already crowded guard room while the 36-year-old.

The Bulls are expected to make a corresponding roster move, waiving center Tony Bradley, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. But if his playing time diminishes even further — he was inactive in each of the last two games — he could ask for and potentially be granted his release.