Door is now open for Lakers to make another Russell Westbrook-like trade

Darvin Ham and Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Darvin Ham and Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest mistakes the Los Angeles Lakers have ever made was trading for Russell Westbrook back in 2021. Westbrook did not fit with the roster the Lakers already had in the slightest and made it impossible to build around the “star” trio.

Rob Pelinka was able to salvage the roster and put together a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals while also adding more flexibility for this summer. One would think that the Lake Show would never make a mistake like the Westbrook trade again.

That being said, the door is now potentially open for the Lake Show to make a similar mistake. This does not mean the Lakers are guaranteed to take the bait but if there is intense pressure from LeBron James and Anthony Davis (like there was with the Westbrook trade) then it definitely is not impossible.

So, who is the ill-fated star that could be the next Westbrook in LA? Why it is none other than Bradley Beal.

The door is now open for the Lakers to make a mistake and trade for Bradley Beal.

Bradley Beal has long been someone whose name has floated in the NBA trade rumors and it now looks like a trade could be imminent. NBA insider Rafael Barlowe broke down the situation in Washington, citing that league sources believe that a Beal trade could be in the cards.

"“According to agents and sources from around the NBA, the Washington Wizards, who have hired Michael Winger as team president and Will Dawkins as general manager, are expected to enter a rebuild — which could lead Bradley Beal to ask to be traded from the only franchise he’s known. Beal signed a five-year, $251 million maximum contract in July 2022 — with a no-trade clause, so any trade would require his agreement.”"

Adrian Wojnarowski later reported that the Wizards are going to work together with Beal and his agent to potentially find a trade this offseason — only increasing the likelihood that he gets traded.

This raises multiple questions. Would the Los Angeles Lakers be interested in trading for Beal and could they actually pull it off legally?

The answer to the first question all depends on the star players on the team. If LeBron and AD are content with this roster and making improvements around the edges then there may be no pressure to add a third star. However, we have seen LeBron flex his leverage multiple times in the past (including with the Lakers) and he is already doing that with hints at retirement.

It might not be the best move in the long run but all LeBron may care about is adding another star to the mix. If that is his vendetta then he certainly could push the Lakers to pursue Beal knowing that he could be in the market.

So could the Lakers actually pull this off? Well, they could. It would require a D’Angelo Russell sign-and-trade but it is possible. Los Angeles could offer Russell on a three-year, $60 million contract alongside Mo Bamba, Malik Beasley, and whatever draft capital is needed.

Beal’s contract is one of the worst in the sport so it might not take much draft capital. The package could simply be those three players and the 17th overall pick. It may not seem like a lot but there are not a lot of teams knocking down the door to take on all that money on Beal’s deal.

This would give Washington a young point guard to throw out there while tanking to improve his stats and eventually try and flip for more assets. It would also give the team more financial freedom as Beasley is an expiring contract and Bamba’s salary is non-guaranteed next season.

While it is possible, it would put the Lakers in an extremely precarious pickle that would be similar to the Westbrook situation (which is why it would be so bad). It would limit what the Lakers could add around the edges and would essentially guarantee the departures of Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.

It would undoubtedly be a bad move by Los Angeles. All that being said, fans still shouldn’t put it past them.

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