05/26/2022

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Leadership Patrick Beverley displayed with Clippers now directed toward Timberwolves

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Andrew Greif

Smiling broadly while discussing the young teammates he hopes to mold and the new contract he hopes to earn, Patrick Beverley couldn’t have looked more comfortable with his new team Monday.

And it wasn’t only because he was wearing silk green-and-blue pajamas, a gift issued by the Minnesota Timberwolves to their travel party ahead of a long flight home.

Patrick Beverley (22) reacts from the Minnesota Timberwolves bench during a preseason game
Former Clipper Patrick Beverley (22) reacts from the Minnesota Timberwolves bench during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday at Ball Arena. (C. Morgan Engel / Getty Images)

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After facing the Clippers for the first time since they traded him in August, the 33-year-old guard said he has “love” and gratitude for the organization. He came to represent the closest thing to a basketball talisman in L.A. for a roster that perpetually appeared enlivened with Beverley healthy and on the court.

He landed in Minnesota happy to be there, hungry to prove he has more to give as he faces free agency next summer, and without any regrets from four seasons and 208 games with the Clippers.

“Not one,” he said after the Timberwolves’ 128-100 preseason victory at Toyota Arena. “Obviously you want to win at the highest level, meaning championship, but after that it’s just culture change and we did that. We changed the city, we changed the look of the Clippers, we went from pretenders to contenders, and I heard [Clippers guard] Eric Bledsoe say that in an interview and it’s so correct. Do things different. We prepared different when I was there and kind of like to leave a little legacy like that, and fortunately it worked out.”

For Beverley, Monday was a reunion masquerading as a preseason game.

He spent warmups catching up with top Clippers executive Lawrence Frank and assistant Jeremy Castleberry, among others. Though he did not play, he did everything else — seemingly standing up from his sideline chair more often than even Timberwolves coach Chris Finch. He yelled instructions, needled former teammates and, during a first-quarter break in play, walked toward the Clippers’ huddle and embraced coach Tyronn Lue.

When the Timberwolves’ victory was over, a receiving line met Beverley at midcourt. He hugged Ivica Zubac, Paul George and Marcus Morris, among others, before walking off the court to cheers.

“I’m happy, man,” he said. “[The Timberwolves] embrace me, they allow me to be myself, just like the Clippers, just like the Rockets.”

Beverley’s last act as a Clipper was walking off the Staples Center court during Game 6 of June’s Western Conference fnals after delivering a two-handed shove to the back of Phoenix’s Chris Paul that earned his ejection, plus a one-game suspension for the start of the upcoming season.

Beverley told reporters in Minnesota last month that offseason discussions for a contract extension went nowhere as he was entering the final year of a three-year contract that will pay him $13.3 million this season.

Beverley was coming off a season in which injuries cost him 35 games, nearly half of the schedule. With several expensive and older guards set to return this season, and Reggie Jackson also returning to the backcourt on a two-year, $22-million contract, the Clippers chose to stockpile younger wings in the draft and scour the trade market for guards capable of filling in a team weakness — putting pressure on the rim. Memphis had Bledsoe, and the Clippers sent a package of Beverley, guard Rajon Rondo and center Daniel Oturu. The Grizzlies then dealt Beverley to Minnesota.Story continueshttps://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf.html

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