The Wizards have heard the devastating news earlier today that Bradley Beal will undergo wrist surgery and be out for the rest of the season. However, Chase Hughes tweeted something that caught my mind. This was the actual words of the tweet:
A scenario told to me from someone who’s identity I will protect: Lakers trade Westbrook for Wall, Rocket buy Russ out, Russ signs w/ Wizards.
Their reasoning: Beal/Rui/Gaff (Daniel Gafford) were good with w/ Russ, Wiz had a better win% last year. (Plus some more stuff about the picture he added with Russ in a Wizards jersey).
This is not some random reporter. Chase Hughes is a very big reporter for the Washington Wizards. He works for NBC Sports Washington. Guess what, he was the one to report that Beal’s agent talked to the Wizards. That talk was about how Beal will undergo surgery and will miss the remaining portion of the season! This guy clearly has inside sources. So, what would this mean for all 3 teams?
Lakers: B or B+
The Lakers would do this. To me, Westbrook and Wall have around the same talent at this point in their careers. Wall is 31 years old and Westbrook is 33 years old, a 2 year difference. Plus, contract wise, Westbrook has 2 years left on his contract (including this year) that will pay him, 44.2 million and 47.06 million respectively. John Wall has also 2 years left on his contract (including this year) that will pay him 44.3 million and 47.36 million respectively. So Wall makes a little bit more money. However, the Lakers can’t be looking at the future. LeBron James 37 year old self isn’t getting younger and injury prone Anthony Davis can tore his ACL in half any day and never be the same. Future isn’t something to look at right now. But, having a younger player by 2 years does help. But, who is the better basketball player?
*John Wall has not played this season so his stats are based on his 2021 performance
Russell Westbrook Stats this season: 18.4 PTS, 7.8 REB, 7.7 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.3 BLK, .437/.300/.668 (FG/3/FT)
John Wall Stats in the 2021 season: 20.6 PTS, 3.2 REB, 6.9 AST, 1.1 STlL, 0.8 BLK, .404/.317/.749 (FG/3/FT)
Now, you can’t just look at stats to determined a player. However, John Wall was better the last time we saw him than Westbrook is this season. Wall also fits better in Los Angeles and let me explain why. Westbrook is very well-rounded which is a great skill to have. But, when LeBron James is on your team, he runs the offense, not the what is usually the point guard. I thought moving Westbrook to the bench for more time would be a solution but they’ve tried that a decent amount and they’re still 2 games under 500. Wall however, is a great scorer who can drive to the paint. Just in case you didn’t know, LeBron is a very good at finding people toward the paint! The Lakers do need to think this through though. Wall is more injury prone, he is on a slightly bigger contract and has not played basketball in close to 1 year. He would probably be rusty. However, if the Lakers do have a chance to make this trade happen, I would do it!
This is a match made in heaven for the Rockets. John Wall has refused to play for them and they have a chance to give him up. Now, the Westbrook buyout is a weird situation. No matter who the player is, the team who originally had the player to buyout, they have to pay 1.62 million to the player. Now, the amount the Rockets would have to pay for Westbrook is questionable since the rest of the money has to do with the players individual contract and the year they signed it. But, even if it’s a lot of money, it won’t be anywhere near John Wall’s gigantic contract. What the Rockets would do is get rid of a player that makes 44.3 million dollars and doesn’t play for them and end up still freeing up cap space after the buyout with Westbrook. I can’t think of a better thing for a team like the Rockets to do. Sure, in the long end, the Rockets don’t gain any asset like a pick or player. But they gain cap space which is a high priority for rebuilding teams. This would be perfect for the Rockets if it happens!
As someone who has a Wizards podcast (Wiz Talk with Chase), I’m not sure how I would feel about this. Westbrook played 1 year with the Wizards in 2021 and the Wizards finished with a 34-38 record, ending their season with a 4-1 round 1 domination by the Philadelphia 76ers. However, once Westbrook and Beal gelled, they had a lot of success. The Wizards had a 16-3 record in Beal and Westbrook’s final 19 regular season/play-in games together. The reason why they only finished with a 28-26 record together was because they’re first 35 games together they had a 12-23 record. However, this is exactly what he has done starting with his other new teams and players. In his rookie season, he had a 5-30 record in his first 35 games with the Thunder. Westbrook has a 18-17 record with LeBron James in his first 35 games with him. However, the only exception is that he had a 23-12 record in his first 35 games with the Rockets. In general, this is the trend though. However, there are some things the Wizards have to think about?
- How will Westbrook play? Westbrook’s play has decreased this season and at the age of 33, how much confidence can the Wizards have on Westbrook getting back to his All NBA votes play with the Wizards. If he’s not back to that level, the Wizards shouldn’t do this. That would be a risk the Wizards would have to take.
- How much money will Westbrook be payed? Part of being bought out is signing a new contract. Westbrook would not be making the 44.2 million this season or the 47.06 million he would make next season. He would have a brand new contract. It would also most likely be a 1 year deal. Now, I think knowing how Westbrook gelled with Beal and the Wizards at the end of the season, combined with his play this season for the Lakers makes it interesting on the amount of money he would make on this 1 year deal. I would assume he would make around 23.3 million dollars on this 1 year contract.
- Will Westbrook still make the impact with the Wizards that he did in the 2021 season? Westbrook broke the triple double record and won the Eastern Conference player of the Month with the Wizards. He also led them to a playoff appearance. The Wizards need him to make that same impact again. They need a ball handler and Westbrook can do that. I think he can make the same impact because of the role he would play on the Wizards.
There was a lot to break down above. Bottom line is, we’re not sure if Westbrook will be the same player that he used to be. Is it his role with the Lakers or is he actually decreasing in his play. You definitely take that risk. Also, does Westbrook need the team he had with the Wizards to succeed. I actually don’t think he does. His key players that he was connecting with were Bradley Beal and Daniel Gafford who will both be on the team if the move happens. However, since the Wizards are getting a point guard in this scenario, Spencer Dinwiddie would have to be traded. That can happen in the offseason or in the trade deadline. I do think Westbrook would gel with the Wizards new roster with players like Kyle Kuzma and Corey Kispert. I do think the Wizards have potential to make a really competitive 2nd round series with this team with Westbrook but no where further. And that is the thing. The Wizards wouldn’t be a championship contender with this duo. So, I’m not sure if I would do this. If you can’t get a #1 to fit with Beal as a #2, I would do that but I don’t have confidence in Westbrook being a #1 on a championship team. I would rather rebuild than do this idea. However, none of this would work, period, if Westbrook doesn’t go back to his former self that he was in 2021.
It is very interesting to think about. If this trade were to happen, it would happen very soon around the trade deadline or in the offseason before Beal could sign with a different team. Now, this comes down to a couple of things. 1, when and/or would the Lakers be willing to trade Westbrook? 2, would Westbrook accept the buyout chance with the Rockets? 3, would the Wizards sign Westbrook? However, if the last 2 steps would happen, it would come down to when the Lakers would be comfortable trading Westbrook if they ever feel comfortable. Again, this trade could happen right around the trade deadline or in the offseason. This wouldn’t happen though, at least the Wizards signing him, unless Bradley Beal would be officially committing to going all in with the Wizards. We saw some crazy trades happen today (learn more on an upcoming Cool Sports Network episode) but this one would be the craziest of the deadline. As crazy as it sounds, this very rare trade, buyout and signing could actually happen!
Wiz Talk with Chase
Cool Sports Network