After acquiring LeBron James in the recent free agency, Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka revealed that they are still planning to add another superstar to boost their chance of winning an NBA championship title. The Lakers filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, DeAndre Jordan, and DeMarcus Cousins will become unrestricted free agents.
Aside from chasing superstars in the free agency market, the Lakers also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster trade before the February NBA trade deadline. As of now, one of the players who is currently being linked to the Lakers is Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. After an altercation involving four players and Coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards have made every player on their roster, including John Wall and Beal, available in trade discussions, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
An Eastern Conference scout who recently spoke to Eric Pincus of the Bleacher Report believes Bradley Beal “would be a perfect fit” next to Lakers superstar LeBron James. In the past eight years of dominating the Eastern Conference, James found success on the court when he’s surrounded by shooters. This season, Beal is averaging 21.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 32.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Bradley Beal will undeniably be an incredible addition to LeBron’s team, but as Pincus noted, the Lakers will be needing to give up Brandon Ingram in a potential deal with the Wizards. To match the salaries, Pincus suggested that the Lakers could include some of their veterans like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Beasley, or Rajon Rondo.
“All this assumes the Wizards would trade Beal for Ingram, the Lakers’ prospect with the most upside. Los Angeles would need to include significant salary to balance a deal, presumably with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley (neither can be traded until Dec. 15). Caldwell-Pope can block any trade outright thanks to a quirk of the rules as a player who re-signed on a one-year deal. He also shares an agent with James in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, which may functionally make him a made man as a Laker.”
Trading Brandon Ingram for Bradley Beal will be a tough decision for the Lakers, especially with the superstar potential the former No. 2 pick has shown in the past years. If the Wizards will demand more valuable trade assets in return, Pincus believes that Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson will likely pass with the deal.