Surprise, surprise. It looks like the Wizards are ready to deal. With the Wizards off to a 5-11 start to the season, a report came out this morning indicating everyone on the Wizards was available in a trade, including John Wall and Bradley Beal. With those indications, two members of the ProCity Hoops team breaks down what a trade for John Wall or Bradley Beal could look like. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the trade rumors.
(Matt Esposito, writer) – Dallas lands another star
Boy, that Luka Doncic kid is somethin’ special huh? It looks like Dallas is headed towards a quicker rebuild than what we may have thought.
The Mavericks have a ton of cap space in the near future and will look to add quality NBA players, if not a full out star. Yet, most teams are gearing up for this year’s free agency onslaught. The Mavericks offer some competitive advantages – no income tax, Luka, Mark Cuban, big market. Still, it would make sense to have a bird in the hand, instead of two in the bush.
With Luka being the primary playmaker for the Mavs, Dennis Smith Jr becomes somewhat expendable. Talented in his own right, DSJ is a good fit next to Doncic. He is hitting 39.5 percent on 2.7 catch and shoot 3-point attempts per game, showing he can play off the ball a bit. But, DSJ is only in the 17th percentile in cuts and scores only 0.56 points per possession (PPP) when coming off screens.
In other words, Smith is a good fit next to Doncic, but not a great one. He is, however, a great asset. Shipping him to Washington would work, but only if they have a firesale and ditch John Wall too. Fortunately, Woj reported that the Wizards are open to moving both. Wes Matthews, who has had an excellent post-injury career, is nailing 38 percent of his 6.8 3-point attempts per game. Plus, he is on an $18 million expiring contract. For a Wizards team who desperately needs cap relief, Matthews is a good pick up.
Why does Dallas do this? They get Beal, who is an All-Star player and sniper-playmaker hybrid, for the next two years. Dallas has the cap space to take on his contract as well. Pairing Doncic with Beal and Barnes would make for a great core. Plus, Dallas would still have enough space to bring in another max player!
(Devan Olsem, Owner) – Help arrives for LeBron and the Lakers
The Lakers have been preaching patience, and rightfully so. With a young roster, the Lakers aren’t likely to make the 2019 NBA Finals. That is, with their current roster. Sitting at 9-7, good for seventh in the Western Conference, the Lakers have a chance to slingshot themselves into the top half of the West. It’s not smart to waste a year of LeBron James. While it seems like it may never happen, LeBron will start trending downhill sometime, maybe. So, with the Lakers sitting on an abundance of assets, it’s time to make a move to add a star next to LeBron.
Bradley Beal is that star. The Washington Wizards are off to an atrocious start to the season, something not many people saw coming. Now, there are reports circulating that the Wizards could be open to dealing anyone on their roster. As far as I know, Bradley Beal is on their roster. With Washington struggling in the Eastern Conference, now is the perfect time for Magic Johnson and the Lakers to strike.
This season, Beal is averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. While his shooting numbers are slightly down, connecting on 45.5% from the field and 33.9% from three, those percentages will increase throughout the season. It has been made clear throughout his career that LeBron is best when he’s on the court with floor spacers. This season has been different for LeBron. While playing at the fourth fastest pace in the NBA, the Lakers are 19th in attempts from three this year, while being 11th in percentage from three. Beal would improve both of those numbers. Beal would thrive next to LeBron. Beal doesn’t always need the ball in his hands to score. He has the ability to play off the ball and hit open shots.
Now, Lakers fans are starting to wonder what the price tag on a Beal trade could look like. Before you freak out, understand that the Lakers would be getting one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, to pair with the best player in the NBA. The Lakers have assets, so they can afford to use some of those assets to guarantee another star player is on their roster for the future. The biggest argument against the Lakers going out and trading for Beal will be that the Lakers can just wait until this summer to sign another star without giving up assets. Free agency is no guarantee, the Lakers saw that last summer. Remember when Paul George was going to sign with Los Angeles? How’d that work out for the Lakers? My point is that nothing is guaranteed in free agency, so when a trade opportunity like this presents itself, you take it and run.
The fact that Bradley Beal could be made available is amazing in and of itself. That reason, along with others, is why the Lakers should make Brandon Ingram available in talks. Ingram is averaging 15.2 points on 45% shooting from the field and 30.4% shooting from three this season. Along with the subpar shooting numbers, Ingram is playing out of position. The Lakers are currently lining Ingram up at the shooting guard position, that’s not where he belongs. With LeBron in town, that might not be able to change, so a move would be alright. Plus, by trading away Ingram, the Lakers would be able to replace him with a more balanced shooting guard that can fill it up from the outside: Bradley Beal. I know it’s not ideal to move on from Ingram, in fact, I would see if the Wizards would take Lonzo Ball first, but for a guy with the talent of Bradley Beal, Los Angeles should pull the trigger.
(Matt Esposito, writer) – A star point guard in the Big Apple
Who would not want to see someone as electric as John Wall in New York? I sure would, and hope you would too.
Now, is it likely? Probably not. The Knicks are going to try and attract a big name free agent this summer and use their cap space. After all, per Hoopshype, the Knicks could have as little as $57 million on the books for next offseason. The could realistically attract a guard like hometown kid Kemba Walker and retain assets like Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson.
But, like I mentioned previously, this free agency market will be vicious. And in an ever so unpredictable NBA landscape, the Knicks are anything but guaranteed to land a big fish next summer. Remember, the Knicks have a horrible owner and suddenly find themselves playing in the NBA’s most competitive division. They have the salary space to take on John Wall’s contract now, and his large extension, and should look into doing so.
Pairing Wall with Kristaps Porzingis is a pick and roll nightmare. KP has always had the skill set to own both the pick and roll and pick and pop, but he has not has great point guards to assist him properly. This is most likely why he finished in only the 54th percentile as a roll man, despite having an eFG of 52 percent (in his last full season.)
Wall could make Porzingis’ PPP on pick and roll’s skyrocket, maximizing his efficiency. The Knicks could also play a small-ball lineup with a solid blend of spacing and defense, with KP at the five, Wall at the point, Courtney Lee at the two, Tim Hardaway Jr at small forward and Lance Thomas as the other forward spot.
If the Knicks brought in Wall, the Knicks would still be able to afford to extend KP in restricted free agency. They would not, however, have much room to bring in a forward like Julius Randle or Trevor Ariza. Can the Knicks find some players on the cheap to fill that void? Can their positive trend convince a veteran forward such as Jonas Jerekbo, Taj Gibson or Anthony Tolliver to accept a tax-payer midlevel exception deal north of $6 million a year?
Why did I specifically target forwards as potential free agent signings? Because to land John Wall, the Knicks would probably have to ship out Kevin Knox. Take a deep breath, Knicks fans, I know you think that surrendering Knox would be too steep a price to pay for Wall. Let us not forget, however, that Wall is still in his prime (28 y.o), a 5x All-Star, All-NBA 3rd teamer and All-Defensive player as well.
Washington has a few forwards already, but they could be gone soon. Kelly Oubre will be a restricted free agent, and combo forwards Markieff Morris and Jeff Green are on expiring deals. Knox can excel as a forward hybrid and play alongside Otto Porter Jr, and even playmaker Troy Brown Jr.
To boot, Washington lands a big expiring deal in Enes Kanter. If Washington landed Knox, and then let Oubre walk, they could see their projected 2019-2020 salary of $117 million shrink to the mid $85-90 million dollar range. Perhaps picks would be involved too.
(Devan Olsem, Owner) – The Sunshine State lands a star point guard
The Miami Heat were heavily involved in trade talks for Jimmy Butler. In fact, a deal got close enough that the Timberwolves and Heat exchanged medical records of the involved players. However, with Butler now in Philly, the Heat need to move onto the next star player trade opportunity. That opportunity presents itself with John Wall. Wall is off to a solid start to the season averaging 20.9 points and 7.9 assists per game. Unfortunately for the Wizards, the numbers haven’t translated into results. With the recent report of the Wizards being open to trading John Wall, the Miami Heat could find themselves in the middle of trade talks.
Pat Riley doesn’t mess around. When there’s a star player on the market, Riley virtually always tries to get involved. I would suspect that would be no different with John Wall. Even with the supermax contract kicking in next season for Wall, the Blake Griffin trade last year proved that no contract is untradeable. Wall is in the prime of his career at 28 years old, and he has many good years of basketball ahead of him. With the Heat off to a slow start to the season, 6-10 through their first 16 games, Miami could be looking to make a move, and the price might not be too bad.
With John Wall signing a four-year, $169 million contract that kicks in next season, that can be leveraged against the Wizards. Washington might be able to find a taker for Wall and that contract, but they might not get a lot of value in return. That would put Miami in a perfect spot. With Josh Richardson out to a stellar start to the season, he would have to be off limits in any trade talks. Beside Richardson and Bam Adebayo, I don’t think there’s anyone Miami wouldn’t move for Wall. With that said, let’s see what a possible trade could look like.
Even though he just signed a contract extension, the Heat should start their trade offer with Justise Winslow on the table. A combination of Winslow, Goran Dragic, and a pick might be enough for Washington to bite on a Wall trade. Winslow gives them a young forward that they can develop into an NBA starter. Dragic fills the void left at point guard with Wall being traded, and the pick further entices the Wizards to make a move for the future. With Washington being in a terrible cap situation, getting off of Wall’s supermax contract isn’t the worst thing in the world either. While the trade return might not be equal value for John Wall the player, it’s equal value for John Wall the player with his contract. Wall gives Miami a star to pair with Josh Richardson, a duo that would likely land Miami in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. For Washington, they can start to hit the reset button.