After a disastrous end to last season, the Los Angeles Clippers have come out swinging to start this season. They beat the Lakers in the first game and are now only one game behind the Utah Jazz for the top seed in the Western Conference. Whatever new head coach Ty Lue is doing appears to be working well.
However, it’s hard to forget about last year’s playoff collapse. The roster is mostly the same outside of the minor additions of Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard. Though it’s possible the Clippers finish with a better regular-season record than the Lakers, it’s still hard to imagine them beating the Los Angeles rivals in a seven-game playoff series.
If the team also believe they can’t beat the Lakers, they may need to look at upgrading their roster. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes that a trade for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal could help get the Clippers over the hump.
“They (the Clippers) ain’t beating no damn Los Angeles Lakers,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “They get Bradley Beal to pair with Kawhi [Leonard] and Paul George. … Oh we got a different story to tell.”
Beal would be a really good fit with the Clippers. He’s not a terrible defensive player but Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can pick up any slack on that end of the floor as long as Beal can keep averaging over 35 points a game.
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Clippers Have Nothing to Offer the Wizards
While Beal to the Clippers sounds like a good fit, it’s just not going to happen. Los Angeles has nothing to offer in a trade. The team doesn’t have a first-round pick until 2027 so they can’t send picks to Washington. They also don’t have any exciting players to offer.
A deal surrounding Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams probably won’t excite the Wizards. Figuring out a way to land Beal would probably make the Clippers the favorites to win a championship but it doesn’t seem possible this year. If he’s going to get traded, it will likely be elsewhere.
Beal Clearly Getting Frustrated
Beal is in the midst of his most impressive season as a pro. He’s leading the NBA in scoring with his 35.4 points a game, which is almost five full points more than Kevin Durant’s 30.5 points a game. However, the Wizards are the worst team in the NBA. They are currently sitting at 3-11, which is the worst record in the league. While Beal clearly wants to make it work in Washington, he’s starting to show his frustration.
“It’s tough,” Beal said after Wednesday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, via ESPN. “I am not going to sit here and be naive. … We want to win, and I want to win. This is why I stayed. I want to win. I figured this is the place I can get it done. It’s tough. Last year was what it was. We had a lot of guys out. John [Wall] was out. It was just a rotten year. COVID hit.”
“This year it’s the same thing,” he added. “Like in a mini-bubble outside the bubble. No fans, no nothing, no practice time. It’s been tough.”
Beal has worked really hard to try and build a winner in Washington but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.