The Lakers are set to acquire veteran guard — and frequent nemesis — Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson, sources with knowledge of the deal told The Times on Wednesday night.
It’s the first big move for the team since signing LeBron James to a two-year extension last week.
Beverley, 34, played in 58 games last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending four years as an emotional leader for the Clippers. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds for the Timberwolves, though his three-point shooting dipped to 34.3% — the lowest of his 10-year NBA career.
Regarded as one of the NBA’s great irritants for his defensive intensity and attitude, Beverley joins a backcourt that currently features former rival Russell Westbrook along with Kendrick Nunn, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves.
Beverley has had some durability problems, playing more than 60 games only once in the past five seasons. He was traded to Utah by Minnesota as part of the Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal earlier this summer and had been expected to land with another team since.
Beverley was originally picked with the Lakers’ second-round pick in 2009, though they traded the selection for a future second-rounder and cash on draft night.
With the Clippers, Beverley helped bridge the period between Chris Paul (he was acquired when Paul was dealt to Houston) and Blake Griffin and the current Paul George-Kawhi Leonard iteration. During that period, Beverley embodied the Clippers’ toughness and fearlessness, helping them remain a playoff contender.
As recently as last season, he clashed with the Lakers and Westbrook, forcing the Lakers guard into a turnover before holding his nose and yelling “he’s trash” at the next stoppage of play. In the 2013 playoffs, Beverley went to steal the ball while Westbrook was stopping to call timeout, injuring Westbrook’s knee in the process. The two are now teammates.
The Lakers also picked Horton-Tucker in the second round — this time in the 2019 NBA draft, and after only six games during a COVID-impacted rookie season, he became a member of the team’s rotation in his second season.
Horton-Tucker, 21, averaged 10 points , 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists last season, though he never developed into the well-rounded offensive and defensive player coach Frank Vogel had hoped.
Horton-Tucker made 26.9% from three-point range last season — the lowest percentage for a player with at least three attempts per game.
“I feel like every situation that I’ve been in is almost like a learning experience, and being on the ball, off the ball is just an experience that you need,” Horton-Tucker said after the season. “Obviously I felt better with the ball in my hands, and I felt I had success with that, but learning to play with the stars is the most important thing they wanted me to do coming in, so that’s it.”
With Horton-Tucker traded, only LeBron James and Anthony Davis are left from the team that won the 2020 NBA championship.
Johnson, a former prep star at Santa Ana Mater Dei High, played in 48 games last season after joining the team during a COVID outbreak and played his way into regular minutes. He started 27 games and averaged 6.7 points.
Following the move, the Lakers have two open roster spots with the ability to create a third by waiving Wenyen Gabriel, who has a non-guaranteed contract.