Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook were great for a year together in Washington.
Beal was All-NBA after averaging 31.3 points a game with Westbrook riding shotgun, and Westbrook set a career high in assists with over 11 a night in 2020-2021.
(Just an aside, just think of what a pass-first Westbrook would look like in the Lakers offense instead of the chuck-and-duck).
Now according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer speaking on “The Void” podcast, the Lakers would like to get Beal in purple and gold, maybe at the cost of Westbrook and potentially a few first round picks down the road.
Does that work? Is there any way the Lakers could reunite Beal and Westbrook? Would Beal fit into the Lakers?
Bradley Beal The Real Deal
Overshadowed at times by John Wall in his Wizards career, Beal turns 29 at the end of June. He is a three-time All-Star. He was the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Florida.
He’s a pro, stuck in bad scene in Washington. They haven’t been in the Eastern Conference Finals since 1979. Ugh. That poor fan base.
Beal is a real scorer, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard. He’s exactly the type of player who brings out the best in Westbrook.
When the two of them were together in 2020-2021, Westbrook became Mr. Triple Double, the two carried the Wizards into the playoffs where they were eliminated by the Sixers in the first round in five games.
Beal hurt his wrist this season and had surgery on a torn ligament. Washington opened the season 10-3, they were 24-29 when Beal went out and slumped to 35-47 missing the playoffs. Beal scored 23.2 points in 40 games last year but shot a career-low 30 percent from deep (for comparison’s sake, Steph Curry shoots 43 percent from beyond the arc).
The Wizards are a team that’s the land of misfit toys. Kristap Porzingis, anyone?
Beal is an unrestricted free agent who can sign a 5-year $241 million max deal with the Wizards, but he has to be looking around.
What would the Lakers have to give up?
Pairing Westbrook and Beal together is unlikely in La La Land. To get Beal, the Lakers would have to probably send a package of Westbrook and his whopping expiring contract and some future first-round picks over to Washington.
The upside for the Lakers? Beal! A young player who can run and score.
For the Wizards, well, it’s a chance to bring Westbrook into a situation where he clearly thrived, of course, that’s without Beal alongside him though.
New Lakers coach Darvin Ham has gone on the record saying how the plan is to ‘maximize’ Russell Westbrook in a Lakers jersey.
That’s good coachspeak. Westbrook is 33 and has been in the NBA for 14 years. His season with the Lakers was not good, but it was probably made worse by fans and commentators. Laker fans weren’t going to jump on LeBron for getting hurt or Frank Vogel for being wishy-washy, so Westbrook was the target.
Only Westbrook really knows what’s left in the tank, but the marriage of him and the Lakers may be over.
About these draft picks
The NBA Draft is Thursday. The Wizards have the 10th pick in the first round. This is the curse of the middle-class teams in the NBA like the Wizards. They never sink so low to get someone to push them to the top.
The Lakers will have the night off. They don’t have any draft picks. They also owe the Pelicans future picks for the Anthony Davis trade. The next first-round pick the Lakers are guaranteed to have is 2027.
That’s like, really far away. Quick, who is the Wizards GM? Who is their coach? You had to look didn’t you. (Wes Unseld Jr. is the coach).
What are the odds either one of them is with the Wizards in 2027? Pretty slim.
All a trade would do is set up some future GM and Coach with the Wizards for something sweet.
The Lakers gambled on Russell Westbrook, hoping he could be the spark plug to ignite LeBron James and Anthony Davis to another NBA title. It didn’t happen, but the Lakers are probably stuck trying to run it back again.