The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards are two teams that share an interesting defining characteristic. Both have some excellent young talent on the roster, but neither is anywhere remotely close to contending in the Eastern Conference.
It is their inability to even really compete for a high playoff berth at the moment that makes them perfect trade partners. Both have talent that simply isn’t working in the current situation, but might thrive in a different one.
This week, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report suggesting an interesting swap that would radically change the make-up of East.
To start: Washington would get Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Otto Porter Jr., Cristiano Felicio and 2021 first-rounder which is top-five protected.
Chicago, meanwhile, would walk away with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
This past week, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst appeared on The Jump and discussed the prospect of Chicago acquiring Beal.
“I would tell you that the Bulls, if they’re gonna trade a guy like Zach LaVine, who’s having a career season, would want to trade him for someone like Bradley Beal,” he said.
For the Bulls, acquiring Beal is a way of softening the blow of absorbing Westbrook’s insane five-year, $207 million contract that is set to pay him $44 million next season and $47 million in 2022-23.
The hits keep coming. https://t.co/tAgVSV1zRh
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 11, 2021
Beal is leading the league in scoring with 32.8 points per game and would provide the Bulls with a franchise cornerstone they’ve been lacking since Derrick Rose. While some believe LaVine may have the potential to be that, Chicago brass clearly doesn’t. There’s a reason why he’s the subject of so much trade speculation. Clearly the organization isn’t sold on him long-term.
Washington, meanwhile, would get a package of young, promising talents that would allow them to get on the path to a rebuild. At this point, it seems clear that the squad as presently constructed around Beal will not work. At some point he will get tired and want to move on. There are already two teams out there “desperate” to trade for him and he himself has a list of five squads he would be willing to go to.
Yikes. Very classy. https://t.co/ddBdnksUYV
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 8, 2021
The writing is on the wall.
While LaVine hasn’t fully proven himself as capable of leading a franchise, for the Wizards, it’s better to gamble on him than be forced to part with Beal down the line for a lesser package.
There are very few win-win situations in the NBA when superstars of this caliber are getting moved, but this particularl transaction would be the rare exception to that rule.