Any time trade speculation starts swirling around a specific scenario, or a couple teams that might look to make a deal, the conversation typically starts and ends with cost. In the case of whether the Los Angeles Lakers might be interested in Bradley Beal, it’s fairly simple. They already aren’t sure about sending out a single piece of the young core, and if Washington asks for anything beyond that, negotiations are over before they start.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote a very good piece about whether the Lakers should look into a trade for Beal if it costs them Brandon Ingram, and he reported that where the Lakers currently stand is pretty simple:
Ingram for Beal would be a difficult decision for the Lakers. If the Wizards also ask for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and/or Josh Hart, Johnson would certainly pass.
What it comes down to is that a trade centered around Ingram (and the necessary contracts to make it work) for Beal seems unlikely given the opportunity cost of no longer having room for Kevin Durant or any other max-level player this summer, and also probably the team’s belief that Ingram may still pan out.
It makes sense, then, that they would flat out reject the very notion of adding anything more of value beyond Ingram.
As I’ve written and said on a few occasions now, this is the right approach.
Lonzo Ball, Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, LeBron James and JaVale McGee as starters with Josh Hart, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler as the team’s primary backup unit is a nice team.
Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Hart, Durant and James is the makings of a special team, not just in the sense of what those guys can do collectively on a basketball court, but also in the sense of what parts of the young core can fetch in a trade. If we’re having this conversation now regarding Ingram being swapped for a player of Bradley Beal’s stature, the Lakers can always revisit that kind of deal at a later time.
It’s just going to take patience. As frustrating as the fit between Ingram and James has been, the Lakers are still winning more often than they’re losing, and can still get better. That seems to be the organization’s focus right now, and that’s absolutely the right approach to take at this time.