The Case for Bradley Beal to Lakers!
Why trading for Bradley Beal this summer could be a solid Plan B should the Los Angeles Lakers strike out with the top free agents
While the Lakers would not consider trading for the Wizards’ Bradley Beal unless they totally strike out with all of the big name superstars this summer, the trade could turn out to be an underrated win-win deal for both teams.
While the Lakers’ preference would be to sign Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kyrie Irving in free agency or pull off an Anthony Davis trade this summer, trading for a two-time All-Star like 25-year old Bradley Beal, who’s a career 38% three-point shooter and elite defender, could be a more realistic Plan B. Beal would give the Lakers a major upgrade at shooting guard and the second superstar they’ve desperately been searching for to pair with LeBron James.
Since the Lakers lack the contracts to match Beal’s $27 million salary for next season, they would have to use part of their $38 million in cap space to make the trade work. For example, the Lakers’ offer for Bradley Beal could include Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, whose combined salaries total just $11 million, meaning the $16 million difference would have come out of the Lakers $38 million, leaving them with $22 million in open cap space.
That $22 million in cap space is why you can make an argument the Lakers might be better off trading for Beal, who’s $27 million salary is less than the $38 million to sign Durant or the $32 million to sign Leonard or Irving. The Lakers could then use that $22 million to sign a proven stretch five like Brook Lopez or Dewayne Dedmon and an elite role player and three-point shooter like Trevor Ariza, Danny Green, Wayne Ellington, or Bojan Bogdanovic.
Replacing untested young players like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart with a superstar like Bradley Beal and proven vets like Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza is exactly what the Lakers need to compete for a championship. They suddenly become a much more experienced team that’s better at both ends of the court. And surrounding LeBron James with a trio of elite three-point shooter eliminates the last season’s biggest weakness.
I did not include point guard Lonzo Ball in the Lakers’ offer since the Wizards already signed point guard John Wall to a $207 million supermax extension. There’s also a big advantage for the Wizards in making an unbalanced trade. By taking back just $11 million in salaries for Bradley Beal, the Wizards add $16 million in cap space to the $19 million they already have, giving them $35 million in cap space to help upgrade their roster with young talent.
There’s little doubt the Wizards need to trade Bradley Beal because right now they’re trapped in the NBA’s version of purgatory, meaning they have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs every year but way too much talent to tank. The result is either a quick first round exit from the playoff each year and a draft pick that’s too high for them to reasonably rebuild through the draft, which is why they need to cash in the one blue chip they have: Bradley Beal.
Ideally, the Wizards need trade Beal for a bevy of young talent and/or draft picks, which is exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers have in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart and what’s likely to be the #11 pick in the draft. Assuming the Lakers can’t outbid the Celtics in a trade with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, their next logical trade target has to be the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, who would be the perfect young superstar to pair with LeBron James.
Trading Beal to the Lakers would enable whomever the Wizards hire as their next general manager a great opportunity to rebuild the team with budding young talent and the promising free agents he could sign with $35 million. The timing would be perfect as Ingram, Kuzma, and Hart would be reaching their prime right around the time the John Wall’s albatross contract expires.
Washington fans would have fun watching a talented fun young team grow.
Meanwhile, the Lakers could possibly roll out a revamped starting lineup that could include Lonzo Ball, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, LeBron James, and Dewayne Dedmon that would surround LeBron with three-point shooters. That would be a lineup with enough long range firepower to thrive playing with new coach Tyronn Lue’s five-out sets and allow the Lakers to contend for a championship for the three years remaining on LeBron James contract.
Bottom line, the Lakers may ultimately succeed in signing Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kyrie Irving or consummating a great trade for Anthony Davis. But if they don’t, trading for Bradley Beal would be a great Plan B.