A door may be opening for the Los Angeles Lakers to potentially land another superstar this offseason. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported there is “palpable expectation” around the league that Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal will request a trade prior to the NBA Draft on July 29. The Lakers are unlikely to have an appealing trade package to land Beal, but it may open up an opportunity to make a deal for Russell Westbrook if the Wizards opt to blow up their roster.
“With the 2021 NBA draft fast approaching, word has reached front offices around the league that Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is considering requesting a trade prior to Thursday night’s event,” Fischer detailed.
“‘He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,'” a source told Bleacher Report. “For the past year, people familiar with Beal’s dedicated relationship to the Wizards have consistently rebuffed the notion he had interest in playing elsewhere. Yet a second source close to Beal, when contacted by B/R, confirmed the situation is now fluid.”
The Wizards Are Unlikely to Consider Trading Westbrook Unless They Deal Beal
The Undefeated’s Marc Spears explained on The Max Kellerman Show that Westbrook’s future is tied to Beal. A potential Beal trade would likely prompt the Wizards to also explore packages for Westbrook which is where the Lakers could enter the picture.
“You know, I’ve been told that the Wizards and the Lakers have, I wouldn’t call them like close conversations,” Spears explained. “In the NBA world, there’s a lot of conversations, so let’s not act like this is on the one-yard line, but that Russ has been mentioned in regards to probably getting Schroder in a sign-and-trade. Also, getting Kyle Kuzma who I think all Lakers fans expect him to be out. Talen Horton-Tucker would certainly be a painful loss, too.
“But you got to give something to get something, and if the Wizards are doing that move my guess is that Beal is on his way out, too. Because I think the only way Russell Westbrook, from what I hear, I’m not speaking for him, but from what I’ve been told, the only way that Russ would want to move is if Bradley Beal wants to go as well.”
Westbrook’s Salary for Next Season Is $44.2 Million
If the Wizards go back into a rebuilding mode, Westbrook’s contract will likely be the team’s first priority in moving. Westbrook still has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $206 million deal. The point guard is slated to make $44.2 million next season.
Westbrook averaged a triple-double last season notching 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game. The guard’s productivity is still there but there are questions about Westbrook’s style of play being viable on a contender. For the Lakers, Westbrook’s presence could allow LeBron James to play more off the ball which would ease some of the pressure on the superstar.
“Have heard that the Lakers have developed some traction in their pursuit of Russell Westbrook, for what it’s worth,” The Painted Lines’ Austin Krell tweeted after the Beal news.