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Bradley Beal Isn't Realistic Trade Target for Lakers Despite Latest NBA Rumors – Bleacher Report

Facing a 3-10 start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers may be desperate for improvement. Lakers fans certainly are, and you can bet that many of them welcome a trade that shakes up the current roster.
Options exist that the Lakers are reportedly considering.

According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Los Angeles has its sights set on Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.
“A star player whom the Lakers are known to covet is Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, sources say,” Haynes wrote last Thursday. “Going after the 10-year veteran would only be an option if Beal were to request a trade, a tactic he has been reluctant to exercise.”
In a vacuum, Beal would be a tremendous addition to the Lakers roster. He is averaging 21.6 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game this season. That’s a heck of a lot better than what L.A. is getting out of Patrick Beverley (4.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists).
As Haynes pointed out, however, Beal’s availability depends entirely on his desire to leave Washington, as his contract has a no-trade clause. The good news for Lakers fans hoping to see Beal in Purple and Gold? One unnamed executive believes that L.A. is a destination for which Beal would waive that clause.
In a recent episode of The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck, Beck relayed a conversation he had with an unnamed Western Conference exec (h/t Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll):
“So here was the quote from the Western Conference executive I spoke to who had mentioned this. He says ‘Washington is the one that I keep thinking that’s going to happen. If you’re the Lakers, don’t you think you can get Bradley Beal? He’s got a no-trade clause, he wants to come to California’ — That was an interesting tidbit of this — ‘He essentially can pick where he wants to go. … But if he asks out and says California or bust, the Wizards, because of the no-trade clause, the Wizards do potentially have to take a lesser deal.'”
If Beal’s rumored desire to play in California is accurate, it should excite Lakers fans. Los Angeles doesn’t have a ton of trade capital—Russell Westbrook as well as the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks are its biggest assets—but that may be enough to seal a deal if Beal forces Washington’s hand.
At the same time, though, fans must realize that this hypothetical trade is extremely unrealistic—and there are multiple reasons why.
The first is that it all comes down to Beal’s attitude toward Washington. That’s a problem for L.A. because the 29-year-old just signed a massive five-year, $251 million contract in the offseason. If he was truly unhappy in Washington, Beal probably wouldn’t have put pen to paper on a five-year commitment.
And it’s not as if the Wizards are struggling mightily. They’re 8-6, winners of four straight, and in fifth place in the East. Beal wouldn’t exactly be abandoning a sinking ship, and Washington shouldn’t be ready to pull the plug on the 2022-23 season.
That’s the second issue. Washington is unlikely to initiate a trade, and even if Beal does request one, the Wizards would have to make it happen. Even if L.A. is the only option, Washington may not view Westbrook and a pair of distant draft picks as reason enough to punt on the current campaign.
And would Washington even want Westbrook back less than two years after sending him to Los Angeles? Probably not, and that presents yet another issue. Because of NBA trade guidelines—which are laid out in an excellent piece by Ron Gutterman of Sports Business Classroom—the Lakers and Wizards would have to salary match:
With Beal carrying a $43.3 million salary, Westbrook is Los Angeles’ only option for a salary match—unless L.A. is willing to move LeBron James or Anthony Davis. According to Haynes, the Lakers are not looking to trade Davis.
Haynes has also pointed out another problem for those dreaming of watching Beal in L.A. Some members of the organization don’t believe that this season is salvageable.
“With the team’s trajectory trending south, sources indicate the front office is unlikely to attach those picks to a potential trade out of concern that such a transaction would not significantly change the course of the season,” Haynes wrote.
Any sort of Lakers-Beal trade this season would come as a massive shock. Could things change in the offseason? Perhaps. The Lakers are slated to be under the luxury-tax threshold and a trade exception could come into play for Washington.
The Lakers brass may not believe it can win now, but it could be interested in reloading for the 2023-24 campaign. Perhaps this is the sort of big-picture possibility that has stayed the hand of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka—whose patience was lauded by the aforementioned executive.
“Whatever you want to say about Pelinka, he’s being smart, he’s taking his time,” the exec said, per Beck.
Even in the summer, though, everything will hinge on Beal’s desire to stick with or leave Washington. The reality is that the Lakers are unlikely to acquire the guard at all, and it almost certainly isn’t happening this season.

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