Things have been going from bad to worse for the Washington Wizards this season. Despite being led by two legit superstars in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, they have the worst record in the NBA at 3-11. That fact isn’t because of Beal, who is currently leading the NBA with 35.4 points game.
He’s remained very loyal to the team and is still under contract through next season with a potential opt-out after. It’s obvious that Beal wants to make it work in Washington but at a certain point, losing gets the best of even the most loyal players. The Los Angeles Lakers could be an interesting trade partner for Beal. The team has had rumored interest in the star dating back to last year.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, speaking on Thursday on The Jump, “The Lakers and Clippers would love to get involved. But it comes down to having the draft picks. Beal will have a say of where he goes because of his contract situation.”
With the Brooklyn Nets forming a superteam, the Lakers want to form one of their own. They’ve had an excellent season so far, but there are clearly holes. They slipped to 14-6 after losing to Detroit on Thursday, but already have a superstar duo in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Adding Beal would give the Lakers arguably the best Big 3 in NBA history.
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What Lakers Can Offer the Wizards
When it comes to draft picks, there’s not much the Lakers can offer Washington. The team owes New Orleans this year’s pick from the Davis trade of 2019, as well as a pick in 2024 (the Pelicans can push the 2025 if they so choose). New Orleans can swap picks with the Lakers in 2023. All told, that means the Lakers can’t trade a first-round pick until 2026 or 27, at the earliest. Washington will want a more immediate return than that.
That said, the Lakers do have a roster full of talented players who could interest Washington.
It’s unlikely the Wizards are going to unload that massive Russell Westbrook contract anytime soon. Embracing a full rebuild might not be the best idea. While there are other teams that could offer Washington more draft picks and young assets, the Lakers could send them enough players to compete now.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would have to be involved in the deal. He’s currently shooting 49.2% from the 3-point line and has been the Lakers’ third-best player. They could also throw in Dennis Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso. That wouldn’t be a terrible haul of players for Washington, if the Wizards want to quickly get back into ttheplaoffs hunt.
It really just depends on what they’re hoping to get out of the deal.
Do the Lakers Even Need to Make This Trade?
There’s no doubt that the idea of Beal suting up in purple and gold is very exciting. He’s arugably the best scorer in the NBA right now and would pair up perfectly with Davis and LeBron. It’s hard to imagine that trio doesn’t create a dynasty.
However, it’s not something the Lakers really need to do. They already have the best roster in the NBA despite not having the best trio. Unlike last season, Los Angeles is stacked. Horton-Tucker could probably be a star on a bad team and he’s having a hard time even getting playing time.
The team won a championship last year and their roster is even better. The biggest reason they should go after Beal is because LeBron can’t play forever and they’ll eventually need another star to pair with Davis. LeBron hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet so the Lakers can hold off before they sell off the entire roster get another superstar.