The Clippers have grand plans in free agency, with the potential to sign up to two max-level superstars this summer. However, they have several of their own free agents to deal with, and Patrick Beverley is arguably the most important.
Beverley was the heart and soul of this LA team during a wildly entertaining regular season and playoff run, but his deal is up, and his cap hold would present an impediment to signing a max contract free agent this offseason. It’s a business, and the Clippers will have to make some tough choices over the summer in building their team.
Beverley was diplomatic about the process of free agency while on ESPN’s The Jump Friday. When Brian Windhorst brought up his looming free agency after a successful and healthy year that showcased to the rest of the league what he is still capable of, Beverley wasn’t too emotional.
“I love the Clippers, you know that. We had a helluva run,” Beverley said. “I’m to a point right now where I’m going to enjoy being a free agent. I’ve never been a free agent before, so I’m going to really enjoy this process. If it goes well with the Clippers, but if it don’t, I wish them the best success.”
It’s pretty apparent that most LA fans would love to have Beverley back, given his particular affinity for the blue-collar, underrated Clippers fandom. However, as Beverley said, this is his first shot at unrestricted free agency. He just finished a 4-year contract that paid $23 million, and could make some generational life-changing money in the market this summer given his status as a 3-and-D player and great locker room presence.
Beverley had a lot of time to also discuss the playoffs, specifically the superstars still going. A clean-cut Patrick Beverley showed up on NBA TV (and later on Inside the NBA where he hilariously popped up in Kenny’s pictures) to talk about defending the Golden State Warriors, of which he has recent relevant experience. He called Kevin Durant “the best player in the NBA, hands down”.
It was LA’s historic comeback against the Warriors in Game 2 of the first round that led to Durant’s now famous presser where he said, “I’m Kevin Durant, you know who I am.” Therefore, Beverley and the Clippers can take full responsibility for how Durant went full supernova before suffering an unfortunate calf injury in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets Wednesday.
On The Jump, Beverley discussed James Harden, whose Rockets face elimination tonight. His advice for Harden, after seeing Durant’s killer mindset up close and personal, borrowed some of Durant’s language.
“You are James Harden, you are James Harden, even Chris Paul is looking at you to take over,” Beverley said. “The Beard has to be on display tonight for them to have a chance.”
Beverley also gave his thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers, who he predicts will win Game 7 on the road against Denver Sunday, because Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are “some bad boys” who can really put the ball in the basket.
He was significantly more animated talking about the scuffle between Seth Curry and Will Barton in Thursday’s game, laughing as he suggested they should have been ejected. “In my era, yes, kick them out,” Beverley, a famous irritant, said. “Control yourselves!”
Beverley followed that up by saying, “I don’t believe no one in the NBA is as tough as they seem, I’m going to be honest.”
He also threw his two cents in regarding Durant’s free agency. He says he thinks that Durant is leaving, that he went to Golden State to get the blueprint for how to win, and now he has it. Beverley hopes that he’s in the same conference as Durant next season (maybe the same team?), though there are a lot of variables at play there.
The best part of Beverley’s appearance (other than the clip below) is when Windhorst asked him what he thinks of the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.
“I played for the best team in LA, so I wouldn’t know.” We can only hope that continues.