Halt the jersey swap presses! Despite a disappointing start to the season for the Washington Wizards, All-Star guard Bradley Beal doesn’t plan on requesting a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers or anywhere else, according to a report from Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic:
Beal has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic. The Wizards, in turn, have no interest in trading him. Amid calls from the general public and even ones from around the league that a team at the bottom of the standings would be best off dealing its prized player, Washington has made it clear it has no plans to move him.
The Lakers’ reported interest in Beal was never expected to amount to anything, but now that appears to be completely off of the table. Assuming that holds true through the NBA trade deadline on March 25, it’s safe to assume that, for the second consecutive year, the Lakers aren’t going to be aggressive at the deadline.
While it’s true that the Lakers have assets that they can deal in Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell, both players have fit in well with the team so far, so unless a player of Beal’s caliber becomes available, it’s hard to imagine them dangling Schröder or Harrell in trade talks. You also have to remember that the Lakers already have $110.2 million on their books for next season, so keeping Schröder and Harrell’s bird rights — which would allow them to go over the cap to re-sign them — are of extreme importance. Or at least it should be, financially.
The only move that I could see them making is a trade involving Wesley Matthews. Matthews has been a DNP-CD in each of the Lakers’ last two contests because of the emergence of Talen Horton-Tucker, who’s 14 years younger than Matthews. If Matthews is unhappy with his role in Los Angeles, it’s theoretically possible that he and the team could work something out when his trade restriction is lifted on Friday, Feb. 5.
Even that’s unlikely, though. Matthews made it clear at the beginning of the season that he really wants to win a championship ring before he retires, and the Lakers still need someone that can guard big wings. Matthews may not be perfect, but there aren’t many players that offer what he does at the salary he’s making.
So in other words, get used to this roster, because it’s probably the one the Lakers will finish the season with. As fun as they are to debate, hypothetical Bradley Beal deals will have to wait.