The Wizards are reportedly engaged in serious talks to send Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean Washington is looking to trade its other star guard too. According to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link), a Westbrook deal isn’t viewed as a precursor to a Bradley Beal trade.
The idea behind a Westbrook trade for Washington would be to add some solid role-playing veterans around Beal and to unlock future cap flexibility to continue adding pieces around the NBA’s second-leading scorer, as both David Aldridge of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN have noted (Twitter links). Getting off of Westbrook’s $47MM+ salary for 2022/23 would put the Wizards in position to open up a significant chunk of cap room next summer.
While we don’t know for sure that Beal will be moved by that pitch, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic tweets that – based on what he’s hearing – the All-NBA guard will opt to remain in Washington.
Beal remains under contract with the Wizards for one more season before facing a player option decision in 2022, so even if he decides to stick with the franchise for the time being, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have a long-term future in D.C.
For now though, it appears the most likely outcome is that Beal will be patient as Washington reshapes the roster around him and will assess how the new group looks in 2021/22. We will, of course, provide updates if and when that changes.