When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Patrick Beverley, NBA fans wondered if the tenacious point guard could co-exist with Russell Westbrook.
The former rivals have reportedly quickly become pals.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Beverley called Westbrook his "best friend" since joining the Lakers in a trade from the Utah Jazz last month. Beverley said they've spent early mornings in the gym together.
They have a long history spanning back to Westbrook tearing his meniscus during the 2013 playoffs after Beverley dove low. Things got heated when a similar play unfolded years later.
Westbrook once called the perception of Beverley as a strong defender a "trick," claiming that he's "just running around, doing nothing." He also said earlier this year that no player on Beverley's Minnesota Timberwolves "has done anything" in the NBA, prompting Beverley to promote the success of his previous teams.
However, that animosity appears to be water under the bridge now that the tenacious guards are teammates.
Earlier this month, Beverley told reporters he "love that brother" after Westbrook tossed him a towel. The 34-year-old declared that he "always wanted to play with" the 2016-17 NBA MVP.
"A player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit, to have a running mate like that, I have never had that," Beverley said of Westbrook, per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "So I am super excited to see where it goes. Obviously like any relationship or any marriage, things, we are going to have tough conversations. That is what comes with winning, but I am excited about those conversations. I am excited about the practices. I am just excited to be able to compete with someone like that."
Some fans might have expected the Lakers to move Westbrook amid an offseason of trade rumors, but he looks poised to start his 15th NBA season alongside Beverley and LeBron James.
The relationship between Beverley and Westbrook will be intriguing to follow throughout the 2022-23 campaign. Will tensions mount if they don't get along as well on the court, or will they turn the franchise around while doing karate in the garage?