We just got our first trade of the deadline involving the Bucks, who are trading point guard Cam Payne and their 2027 second-round pick to the Sixers for veteran combo guard Patrick Beverley:
The 76ers are trading Patrick Beverley to the Bucks, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2024
The Bucks are a 2027 second-round pick to the Sixers in the deal, source said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2024
Beverley is a well-known commodity to longtime NBA followers. Over many years in the last decade with the Rockets and then Clippers—where he of course played under new Bucks head coach Doc Rivers—he established a reputation as a ball-hawking pest in the backcourt, frequently tasked with defending opponents’ lead guard. He made three All-Defensive teams (two seconds, one first) and received Defensive Player of the Year Votes five times. However, the last of those honors came in 2020.
Now PatBev is 35, and while he started all 67 of his games last year for the Lakers and Bulls—whom he very much helped make the Play-In Tournament—he’s stepped back into a more modest role off Philly’s bench this year at 19.6 MPG. While he’s never been a scorer, only twice averaging over 10 PPG in full season (and even then just barely), he was also a very good three-point marksman in his career. However, he’s shot just 32.1% from downtown this year and has been under 34.3% in each season since leaving the Clippers in 2021.
It’s pretty clear why he’s being acquired here, and at a pretty insubstantial price of a minimum-salaried guard and a distant second which may be near the end of the round: point-of-attack defense and Rivers’ familiarity with him. While he’s certainly no longer in his physical prime, he can at least give the Bucks some minutes checking opposing backcourt scorers and ballhandlers, something the team has severely lacked this season. Whether or not that will translate into playoff minutes isn’t clear, but I’d think that since this move has Rivers’ prints all over it, he might see minutes in a postseason rotation.
As for Payne, while he had his moments on offense, he was certainly not helping the Bucks defensively and never really caught on after signing a minimum contract mere weeks before the season began. Even though he’s past his prime, Beverley at least might be able to give what Payne gave the Bucks in spurts. However, while he’s run a lot of point in his career, he usually started alongside a true PG in Chris Paul or a ball-dominant guy like James Harden. That means he likely will do fine alongside Damian Lillard, but he’s probably not the ballhandler Payne was.
This is my own speculation, but maybe the Bucks are still eyeing PG depth to spell Dame. We’re just over an hour from the deadline, and the Bucks still have Portland’s 2024 second-round pick burning a hole in their pocket, a young prospect in MarJon Beauchamp, plus a bunch of salary in the form of Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis. Let’s see if more moves are to come.