Now that James Harden has gone to the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is expected to be the biggest name on the trade market before the 2021 deadline. Beal is not yet officially available, but if the Wizards continue to struggle this season, rumors surrounding his future with the team are highly likely to heat up once again. One of the teams that is closely monitoring his situation in Washington is the New Orleans Pelicans.
In a recent article, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report included the Beal-to-Pelicans trade on his list of blockbuster deals. In the proposed scenario, the Pelicans would be sending a package that includes Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a 2021 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 or 2025 first-round pick to the Wizards in exchange for Beal and Robin Lopez. If the trade becomes a reality, Buckley thinks that it would help both teams.
The suggested deal would make a lot of sense for the Wizards, especially if they finally decide to take a different route. By agreeing to send their best player to New Orleans, they would be receiving enough assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process in the post-Beal era.
“So, would the Wizards bite? They should at least be gauging Beal’s trade market since they’re in dire need of an asset collection that could address the many holes on this roster, and his value will never be higher. This particular swap should net them at least three keepers in Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, plus three darts to throw at the draft board in search of others. If Washington did this deal early enough, it could quickly flip the sharpshooting JJ Redick to a spacing-challenged contender and perhaps throw another future pick on the pile.”
Meanwhile, sacrificing all those assets in a single transaction would be a tough decision for the Pelicans, but it could be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Beal’s caliber. If they are determined to build a more competitive roster around Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, trading Ball, Redick, Hayes, Alexander-Walker, and three future first-round selections for Beal should be a no-brainer for New Orleans. The potential acquisition of Beal would significantly improve their offense and address their glaring need for shot-creation, outside shooting, and support scoring.
Beal’s arrival in New Orleans wouldn’t force Ingram and Williamson to make major adjustments with their game since he’s capable of excelling in an off-ball capacity. Sharing the court with an elite three-point shooter like Beal would greatly benefit Ingram and Williamson since it would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
Beal won’t make them an instant favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but if he, Ingram, and Williamson grow together and build good chemistry, the Pelicans could form their own “Big Three.”