The Washington Wizards are committed to the duo of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to the degree they consulted with both of them during the latter stages of their head coaching search. But a new trade rumor from Marc Spears of The Undefeated poses an interesting question: What if they made Westbrook available?
Spears reports the Lakers have had talks about possibly trading for Westbrook in a deal that could include Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker. Spears referred to a potential sign-and-trade, which are very complicated in the NBA, so it may not be that simple. But let's just examine the deal on the face of it; the players involved and what the results would likely be.
For the Wizards, there would be some legitimate positives. They would get out from under a supermax contract, ultimately trading the John Wall supermax for the Westbrook supermax and then turning that into three impact players. That isn't easy to do, if you consider where they started with Wall coming back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.
The Wizards would get deeper, they would land another forward and a possible starter in Kuzma, a young bench scorer in Horton-Tucker and in Schroder an excellent defensive guard who can also score. Put Schroder at the top with Daniel Gafford on the backend and you could have yourself a really good defense.
The negatives may lie in the simple fact the Wizards would be going from two stars to one. That generally isn't the formula for contention in today's NBA. Often it is necessary to have strength in numbers, the most stars possible.
Trading Westbrook for the three aforementioned Lakers players may make the Wizards a deeper team. But they would probably in a sense be back to square one, looking for another star or two to put alongside Beal after missing that element for years as Wall recovered from injuries. It could be smarter to instead add pieces around Beal and Westbrook, possibly even a third star.
For the Lakers, it would make plenty of sense, if they could swing such a deal. Westbrook, an LA-native, plays a complementary position to LeBron James and Anthony Davis and would give them the third star they are reportedly looking for. He could possibly win his first ring, as the Lakers were champions just last season and may have gone deep this year if it weren't for injuries.
There's a lot to weigh here. It may not make perfect sense for the Wizards, but it's an interesting possibility to explore.