With the third week of the 2018-19 NBA season drawing to a close, the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers are both undergoing their respective struggles. Despite the presence of an All-Star back court in John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are tied for last place in the Eastern Conference with a 1-7 record, while the LeBron James-led Lakers aren’t doing much better, sporting a 3-5 record even with the four-time NBA MVP on board and healthy. It isn’t clear if either team is planning on making some big moves early on in the season, but one former NBA superstar believes the Lakers could do much better if they could find a way to trade for Beal.
Earlier this week, Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady appeared on ESPN’s the Jump, where he commented that the Wizards “stink” due to their perceived lack of chemistry and poor defensive play, and that it might be time to break things up and make some moves. After the Jump co-host Brian Windhorst briefly went through the Wizards’ list of players entering free agency in the summer of 2019, McGrady then remarked Bradley Beal would “look good in a Lakers uniform” because of his shooting ability. This was seconded by Windhorst, who agreed that Beal would be “amazing” if he got the chance to play next to LeBron James.
While neither McGrady nor Windhorst mentioned any Los Angeles Lakers players who could be sent to the Wizards in exchange for Beal, this isn’t the only time in recent days that the 25-year-old shooting guard has been mentioned as a potential Lakers acquisition. According to Hoops Hype, the Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks dropped two oft-mentioned names as potential components in a trade package for Beal, while predicting that the Wizards star could become an even better player if he gets to team up with James.
“I’m thinking, how about Bradley Beal to the Lakers for Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and some cap space filler or whatever … Beal is a great player with LeBron, he’s only 25. That’s a fair trade, I think,” said Tjarks on Friday’s edition of the Ringer NBA Show, as quoted by Hoops Hype.
Even with the Washington Wizards getting off to an extremely slow start, Beal is still posting impressive numbers for the team, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page. In eight games, Beal is averaging 23.1 points, 3.8 assists, and four rebounds, and is shooting 47 percent from the field, including 39 percent from three-point range.
Despite the tantalizing prospect of having a young, yet proven performer like Bradley Beal join the Los Angeles Lakers, Hoops Hype’s Bryan Kalbrosky stressed that the hypothetical trade might not be practical for the Lakers. He said that trading for Beal would leave Los Angeles with less salary cap space to sign a top free agent like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, or Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2019, but added that Beal is younger than all of the aforementioned players, and could make a “fascinating fit” alongside James because of his skills as a catch-and-shoot player.