Since LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, they’ve come close to forming a Big 3 a number of times. In 2019, Kawhi Leonard considered joining up with him and Anthony Davis but ended up going to the Clippers. The team has also poked around and tried to make some trades for stars.
One name the Lakers have targeted for a while now is Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal. According to Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, LeBron is also a big fan of the superstar guard and wants to play with him.
“I know LeBron loves him,” Cowherd said of Beal. “I’ve been told that by LeBron’s camp. They’ve been eyeing him for years. I’m not sure why people don’t make a run.”
Currently, Beal leads the NBA in scoring as he’s averaging 32.9 points a game. He’s been one of the league’s best scorers for years now but is in the midst of his best season. The Wizards got off to a horrific start to the season and were at the bottom of the league for a while. Due to that, a Beal trade was widely speculated.
Washington is now 14-20, which places them as the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference. However, they are only two games out of the eighth seed. It’s hard to imagine Beal is going to bail on the team when the playoffs are in reach.
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Beal Not on Trade Block Yet
Beal is cut from a different cloth than many other superstars in the NBA. Despite only having three playoff series wins in eight seasons, he remains incredibly loyal to the Wizards. He has never once indicated that he wants to get traded or leave the team in free agency.
Most other players would’ve already tried to force a trade, but Beal has stuck with the Wizards. With the trade deadline approaching, it seems unlikely that the guard is even mentioned in any trade talks. He’s the only thing keeping the Wizards from being the laughingstock of the NBA. They aren’t going to willingly trade him unless they know that he’ll walk when he becomes a free agent. Things will have to turn really sour in Washington if Beal is going to force his way out.
Do Lakers Have a Path to Landing Beal?
If the Lakers and LeBron want Beal in Los Angeles, a lot of things will have to happen. He’s not set to be a free agent until 2023 so signing him is out of the question until then. The Wizards aren’t trading him unless they know he’s not sticking around long-term.
While it seems like Beal will always remain loyal to Washington, things could change really fast. Nobody could’ve foreseen James Harden forcing his way out of Houston and even the great Kobe Bryant requested a trade from the Lakers at one point.
It’s possible that the Wizards miss the playoffs this season and next season. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine Beal will still be stoked about staying with the team. The superstar coming to Los Angeles isn’t likely to happen anytime soon but it could be very possible down the road.
Of course, the Lakers would need to gather some tradeable assets before then. The team can’t trade a first-round pick until 2025 at the earliest and is short on young talent. If Beal were to hit the market, the Wizards would get high-value offers. Based on what the Lakers have available now, it would be hard for L.A. to match the offers others could give for Beal.