Though the NBA season just ended, free agency and trade season will likely start very soon. The Los Angeles Lakers have rumored interest in a number of guys but there’s one player who would be the most perfect fit. Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards is one of the most sought-after superstars in the NBA. His team has been bad for years but he still hasn’t tried to force his way out.
He’s actually gone out of his way to suggest that he’d like to stay with the team for the long-term. However, he did change his tone a little bit recently. He was on Old Man and the Three podcast where he seemed to suggest that he’d be open to leaving if the team doesn’t fully commit to winning.
“You still want to be able to protect yourself and kind of be selfish in that regard and (look at) how I can create some type of flexibility for myself if we aren’t winning, if I do choose to get out,” Beal said. “That’s why it was a one and one versus a full three-year (deal).”
Based on what Beal is saying, it sounds like he’s at least entreating the idea of leaving for another team. He’s heading into a contract year so perhaps Washington will decide to trade him if the season starts off poorly. Nothing seems likely to happen before the season.
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Beal Addresses Trade Rumors
For a couple of years now, Beal has been at the center of a number of trade rumors. There probably isn’t a single contending team that has thought about making a trade for him. Beal is well aware of the rumors.
“Teams are trying,” Beal said. “A lot of them are calling, a lot of them are inquiring and putting packages together – trying to see if they can get me. That’s not a secret.”
It sounds like Beal has been keeping track of some of the chatter. He’s right, a lot of teams are interested. The Wizards don’t seem to ready to contend anytime soon. They could decide to start a rebuild and send Beal away. However, it seems unlikely he’s going to force his way out.
Lakers Will Have a Hard Time Landing Beal
If the Lakers really want Beal, it doesn’t seem likely they can make it happen this year. Trading Beal would mean that the Wizards are ready to start their rebuild. That would require a lot of young assets, which the Lakers don’t have. Teams with top young players and/or high draft picks will be able to outbid Los Angeles.
The Lakers would have to hope that either Beal hits free agency so they can try to make a pitch to him or that he requests a trade and says he’d only like to go to the Lakers, which would hurt his value to other teams. Unfortunately, both of those scenarios don’t seem likely. Pairing Beal with Anthony Davis and LeBron James is probably a pipe dream.