The Los Angeles Lakers are riding high after impressive wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers. If there was any doubt that they were legitimate title contenders this year, it should be gone after those wins. Though the Lakers have a very good shot at getting to the NBA Finals this season, it still feels like they’re missing something.
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN believes he knows exactly who the Lakers need.
“Boy, I wish the Lakers had Bradley Beal,” Smith said on First Take.
Beal sure would look good in purple and gold. He’s averaging a career-high 30 points a game this year and he’s playing for a Washington Wizards team that’s going nowhere fast. He’d be exactly what this current Lakers team needs. Unfortunately, the trade deadline already passed and even if it hadn’t, the Lakers wouldn’t have the assets to acquire such a talent. He also hasn’t shown a lot of interest in leaving Washington. The Wizards don’t have a lot going for them these days and having a player like Beal helps them stay relevant. It’s doubtful they’d ever let him go for cheap.
Any Chance Beal Could Ever Land in L.A.?
While Beal would be a perfect fit with this current Lakers squad that’s led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it seems like mostly a pipe dream. Mainly because Beal’s contract runs through the 2022-2023 season. For one, who knows if LeBron will still be playing by then?
Beal could always force his way out by requesting a trade, but that also seems unlikely. Plus, the Lakers don’t have a lot of assets that would be attractive in a trade. Perhaps after LeBron retires, Los Angeles can make a run at Beal when he hits free agency in 2023. Davis should still have a few years of productivity left and Beal would be an interesting player to pair up with him. The Lakers will need to find a star to replace LeBron after he retires if they hope to keep Davis long-term. Beal could be the answer.
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Kyle Kuzma Not Living up to Being the 3rd Guy
Heading into this season, Kyle Kuzma was supposed to develop into a great third option for the Lakers. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. He’s averaging a career-low 12.5 points a game and has been wildly inconsistent all year. There have been flashes of brilliance but they’ve been few and far between.
Kuzma was once a valuable trade asset, but his value has diminished this year. He’s still only 24 years old and has plenty of time to figure things out. That said, the Lakers are a veteran team and need players who are ready to put up consistent numbers now. Whether it’s coaching, fit or that he’s hit his peak remains to be seen. He’s going to need to step up in the playoffs if he hopes to stay in Los Angeles past this season.