Thanks to some lottery luck on Tuesday night, LeBron James and the Lakers now own the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, making that the Hollywood backdrop ahead of a majorly consequential free agent summer in Los Angeles.
The Lakers will undoubtedly be aggressive in their pursuit of marquee free agents and, now armed with that No. 4 pick, could put together a formidable trade package in pursuit of additional talent to help LeBron win a title in a limited window.
Enter the Washington Wizards.
“Bradley Beal could maybe be in play for the Lakers right there,” NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller said Tuesday night on the Wizards Talk podcast.
“If [the Lakers] strike out on all of those [top-tier free agents] and they need an All-Star and they need a two guard, Bradley Beal is a whole hell of a lot better than Jarrett Culver.”
Culver, who led Texas Tech to an appearance in the national championship game this past season, is one of a handful of players talked about as an option for the Lakers if they were to keep the No. 4 pick.
But as recent history has shown, namely the very public botched Anthony Davis trade negotiations between the Lakers and Pelicans earlier this year, Los Angeles locks in on a target and that target becomes the center of the NBA conversation universe.
“I don’t want any of the Lakers young pieces. I don’t want any of those Lakers pieces,” Miller continued, referring the Los Angeles core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
“I want Bradley Beal to stay. Period.”
This will be a pivotal summer for Beal and the Wizards, as well. If he qualifies for an All-NBA team for his work during the 2018-19 season, he would be eligible for a supermax extension that would entitle him to 35 percent of the Wizards’ cap space. Combined with the contract of backcourt mate John Wall, also on a supermax deal, Washington would in the future owe 70 percent of its cap to just two players.
“There’s reasons to consider trading him because until he’s saying he’s going to take an extension and all that we don’t know what his long term plans are and the Wizards are not in a position to let him walk in two years,” NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig said on the podcast.
“That said, I’m not trading him unless I flat out am getting true building blocks and based on this draft, unless it’s Zion or Ja, maybe RJ Barrett, I don’t see that guy.”
Listen to the full post-lottery episode of the Wizards Talk podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.
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