The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly are skeptical about adding guards Russell Westbrook or Patrick Beverley to the roster in the buyout market.
After making moves at the trade deadline to acquire Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon, the team isn’t sure whether or not Westbrook and Beverley would be actual upgrades to the roster at this point in the 2022-23 season.
“As part of the Clippers’ ongoing roster evaluation, the Clippers have held conversations with buyout candidates such as Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley to gauge whether the goals of the players and teams align,” the Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Greif wrote. “For now, those check-ins appear to be more about diligence than imminence, with the Clippers seen as being patient before a move, if any, materializes. Skepticism remains that any available guard would be seen as an upgrade from the options already on the roster. Lue has told Hyland not to turn off his scoring instinct to fit into a ‘traditional point guard’ mold.”
Both Westbrook and Beverley were dealt by the Lakers at the trade deadline as they tried to add more talent to the roster. Beverley was moved to the Orlando Magic for big man Mo Bamba, who was brought in to replace Thomas Bryant after the Lakers traded him to Denver.
The Clippers may want a point guard on the roster after moving on from John Wall and Reggie Jackson at the deadline. However, Westbrook and Beverley have both struggled at times this season, and they may not add enough to make things work with the Clippers.
This season, Westbrook is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc.
He was never a perfect fit for the Lakers alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and even though he took a smaller role as the team’s sixth man, the Lakers still felt they could get better by moving him.
It’s possible the Clippers see Westbrook thriving as a sixth man for them, but he does command a lot of touches on offense.
As for Beverley, he could return to the franchise that he played for from the 2017-18 season through the 2020-21 campaign. Beverley started the current season struggling from beyond the arc, but he did get his 3-point percentage up to 34.8 prior to being dealt at the deadline.
Beverley is a solid role player and elite defender, but he doesn’t have the offensive skill set that Westbrook possesses.
Ultimately, the Clippers’ decision will likely come down to whether or not they think either player can fit into their rotation alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Clippers are contenders in the Western Conference this season, sitting in the No. 4 spot in the West entering the All-Star break.
It seems like the team is doing its due diligence before possibly committing to one of the former Lakers guards for the rest of the 2022-23 season.