The Washington Wizards experienced another setback on Tuesday when the team announced that star point guard John Wall, who was recovering from heel surgery, ruptured his left Achilles, which will sideline him for at least 12 months.
It’s yet another roadblock for the franchise, which has been unable to live up to the expectation created around one of the best backcourts in the league with Wall and Bradley Beal. Both players have been All-Stars in the past and are in the primes of their career, yet the Wizards have been unable to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals since 2014, including a first-round exit last season.
The two have had a questionable relationship in the past which has prompted the idea of a split, especially for Beal, who has constantly played second fiddle to Wall in Washington. He has stepped up while Wall has been out, averaging 24.8 points per game this season, but the Wizards are nine games under .500 and 10th in the East.
With Wall gone, the Wizards are handcuffed when it comes to the possibility of making corresponding moves. Wall has a four-year, $169.3 supermax extension that kicks in next year that will eliminate them from getting a notable replacement.
Signed through the 2020-21 season and now facing another lost year, Wall’s injury might be the last straw for Beal in D.C., who could be looking for greener pastures and request a trade.
Dealing him would supply the Wizards with an opportunity to collect some solid assets to rebuild the team with. Beal will make a combined $56 million over the next two years, which is a bargain for an All-Star given the climate of today’s NBA.
It looks as though teams are already circling, as Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, reported that the Los Angeles Lakers could try and swing a last-minute move for Beal. However, it won’t be to improve the Los Angeles backcourt.
Instead, Robinson believes that the Lakers could use Beal to sweeten the pot in a potential trade for New Orleans Pelicans star center Anthony Davis.
The Lakers and Pelicans abandoned talks about Davis on Tuesday, the Lakers citing that New Orleans’ asking price was far-too-high. Los Angeles had already offered half their team for Davis, per multiple reports, as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and two first-round draft picks were on the table.
Instead, the Lakers will now wait for a counteroffer, though it has to come quickly as the NBA’s trade deadline comes on Thursday.
Considering Beal hasn’t event submitted a trade request, it seems like a longshot that the Lakers would be able to pull off such a deal before Thursday, but it could be something to watch for this summer if Davis remains with the Pelicans after Feb. 7.