Patrick Beverley and the Clippers discussed a potential contract extension this summer, but couldn’t reach a deal. At that point, the veteran point guard said the Clippers allowed him to control his own destiny to some degree.
“They asked, ‘What are teams you want to go to?’ ” Beverley recalled. “And one of the first teams I said was the Minnesota Timberwolves.”
Beverley said the Timberwolves were “for sure” in his top three at the time.
But Beverley originally was traded to Memphis in a deal reported on Aug. 15. Two days later, the deal between Memphis and Minnesota, re-routing the guard to Timberwolves, was reported.
Beverley, who tweeted a Memphis tag line of sorts “Grit and Grind. Let’s GO” on Aug. 15, insinuated that he knew all along he would end up with Minnesota in the long run.
“I knew I was going to Minnesota a couple weeks before you guys did,” he told the media on Thursday. “This is something in play way before it happened.”
Beverley’s interest in Minnesota makes sense. The guard is on the final year of his current contract. If the Clippers weren’t going to commit to the 33-year-old long term, then the last thing a veteran would want to do is hang around with a team that likely wasn’t planning on re-signing him.
Coming to the Timberwolves, Beverley has a chance to do a couple things by taking advantage of an obvious opportunity at significant playing time — play well enough where Minnesota will want to re-sign him using its acquired Bird Rights that allow the Wolves to sign him even without the necessary cap space, or play well enough to where even if he’s not back with the Wolves next season, he will have a significant market next summer in free agency.
So the landing spot works out for Beverley. It works out for the Wolves, too. While Jordan McLaughlin is a promising young player, Beverley is an established guard more than capable of backing up D’Angelo Russell, or even playing alongside the scoring guard. Beverley is a needed defensive menace and one of few veteran leaders on the roster. In fact, he might be the only one.
And Beverley is the kind of leader this team has needed — one who both has the pedigree that demands followers, and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Beverley was asked Tuesday if he’s looking to set a tone early in training camp.
“I like to show by my effort, I like to show by my passion, I like to show by my results and my work ethic,” he said. “Everything else will come into play after that.”
Will the 6-foot-1 guard wait a little while before beginning to bark at his teammates?
“No,” he said in a matter-of-fact manner. “Because I think that’s naturally who I am, unfortunately.”
Or, for Minnesota, perhaps fortunately.
“I don’t know how much one player can change a culture defensively, but Pat’s certainly got all the right tools to do so. His leadership, he goes out and does it. He competes,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “But the biggest thing is he brings the experience to a relatively inexperienced team on defense and he helps them with where they should be at any given time. In the film room, or on the floor in drills. So imparting knowledge and then actually going out and competing because that’s where defense starts on the ball, and he’s really good on the ball.”