The Internet was abuzz on Thursday with reports that the Los Angeles Lakers could be maneuvering to trade for disaffected Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. While that would be an extraordinary story and fundamentally alter the balance of power in the NBA, there is virtually no chance of it happening.
This was all kicked off by Adrian Wojnarowski saying the Lakers would love to be involved in a deal for Beal, but he never said it would actually happen. He followed up his statement by saying the Lakers likely didn't have the combination of young players and available draft picks to make it happen. Because they don't.
No matter how many times you run deals through the Trade Machine, it just doesn't work out logistically. Beal is making $28.75 million this year and the Lakers simply don't have attractive options to match that contract. On top of that, LA can't trade any of its first-round draft picks until 2026 because of the Anthony Davis deal.
Everyone would love to be involved in a deal for Bradley Beal. He's a great player, a two-time All-Star with a reasonable deal that potentially runs through 2023 if he exercises his player option. He's currently leading the NBA in points per game (35.4) and his PER is at a career high (26.53). Who wouldn't want to trade for that guy? The Lakers simply don't have the ammo to make a deal, and even if they could somehow add his $28.75 million to their ledger, it would leave the roster unbalanced into the future. Too many guys would have to go the other way and it would almost certainly hurt the product on the floor.
The Lakers are the best team in the NBA right now and are only going to get better as Davis and LeBron James begin to ramp up their activity. Both guys are playing fewer minutes than they did last season after a grueling run through the playoffs and a shortened offseason. Don't expect that to last. This Lakers squad is just getting started.
While Bradley Beal would be great addition to the roster, LA already has a championship-caliber squad.