The Los Angeles Clippers have spent this offseason strengthening the roster after the deepest playoff run in franchise history. However, The Clippers’ latest trade now makes Patrick Beverley’s previous bold remarks to Stephen Curry look entirely foolish.
Clippers trade Patrick Beverley to the Grizzlies
The Clippers continue to move methodically through the offseason, hoping to build off last season’s deep playoff run.
Los Angeles unexpectedly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu to the Memphis Grizzlies for Eric Bledsoe. The Grizzlies previously acquired Bledsoe before last month’s draft but planned on moving him to another team.
The trade saves the Clippers $30 million in luxury tax while creating an $8.3 million traded-player exception that they will have a year to utilize. Bledsoe struggled to find consistent production last season with the New Orleans Pelicans due to a fluctuating role as he averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists in 71 games.
Beyond the move shaking up the Clippers’ backcourt, it effectively brings an end to Beverley’s bold claim he once told Stephen Curry.
The Clippers just reinforced how foolish Patrick Beverley was when he tried to trash-talk Stephen Curry
Beverley has made it quite apparent throughout his NBA career that he doesn’t lack any confidence.
The veteran point guard holds supreme conviction in his ability each time he takes the court. It led him to voice some extremely cocky choice words to Curry during a regular-season game in October 2019.
“You had the last five years,” Beverley reportedly said to the three-time NBA champion. “The next five are mine.”
The Warriors were coming off their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance but were on the mend and rebuilding the roster. Golden State lost Kevin Durant in free agency while Klay Thompson was recovering from a torn ACL.
Beverley’s comments also came a few months after the Clippers landed All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. All that placed promising optics ahead for Los Angeles, but the last two seasons didn’t pan out how he hoped.
The Clippers fell to a disappointing 2020 playoff exit after letting a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets slip through their hands. Los Angeles followed it by reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, but Leonard’s torn ACL created too big of a hurdle to overcome the Phoenix Suns.
Less than two years since Beverley’s bold statement, it received an abrupt end after the trade to the Grizzlies. It now serves as a shining example of it sometimes being better to let the game do the talking rather than words.
LA remains fixated on NBA title contention
Beverley’s departure underlines the Clippers’ desire to become legitimate NBA title contenders.
Los Angeles took a progressive step forward in the 2021 postseason despite Leonard’s injury. George firmly put his previous playoff struggles behind him, while Reggie Jackson became a highly reliable offensive contributor. Terance Mann also showcased promising ability behind his strong postseason showing in an increased role.
However, the task of competing for an NBA title next season will become a more daunting challenge, especially with Leonard expected to miss a sizable chunk of the season. Meanwhile, teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers improved their roster. The Denver Nuggets will also have Jamal Murray back while the Suns and Utah Jazz will remain heavily in the mix.
The pressure is on George and the talent around him to step up in Leonard’s absence. Bledsoe will immediately step into a prominent offensive role as one of the primary ball handlers. Ultimately, Los Angeles’ NBA title hopes will hinge on Leonard returning healthy as he’s the factor that may push them over the playoff hump.