The Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards are two teams heading in very different directions. One is a legitimate contender to win the NBA title in 2020-21 despite playing in an absolutely stacked conference, while the other is desperately scrambling for relevancy and attempting to put off an inevitable rebuild.
This week, Grant Afseth proposed an intriguing trade that would help both organizations out short-term and long-term. The deal in question would take place between the Clippers, Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder, who need to be involved in order to smooth out the salary cap difficulties that arise when you have two major stars being moved.
LA would get Bradley Beal, Thomas Bryant, a 2022 first rounder, and a 2024 first rounder; Washington would come away with Paul George and Mfiondu Kabengele; and Oklahoma City would receive Ish Smith, a 2022 second rounder, and a 2023 second rounder.
This particular trade would be a rare win-win-win for all parties involved.
The Thunder would come away with two free picks and the expiring contract of Smith, which they could later trade to a squad in need of guard support in return for even more draft capital. Because the organization has cap space to spare, there is no reason not to utilize it in an attempt to secure additional picks.
Thunder general manager Sam Presi has quietly expressed interest in these types of deals over the past year and will likely continue to do so.
Yikes Scottie. https://t.co/OfGjnOyWpP
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 3, 2020
For LA, this is a good opportunity to call a mulligan on a Kawhi Leonard-Paul George pairing that never quite jived in 2019-20. The latter player especially seemed to have a number of issues with his teammates and coaches last year, and it feels like it would behoove everyone to cut their losses now.
Beal would mesh instantly with Leonard and provide the Clippers with some much-needed offensive backcourt support. LA was said to have been interested in acquiring Russell Westbrook or Terry Rozier to plug that very hole, and Beal is better than both at this stage in his career.
Speaking of Westbrook – his recent arrival in D.C. is what makes the acquisition of George all the more logical. Westbrook and George enjoyed a decent amount of success together in Oklahoma City, and by all accounts the pair would have no qualms about playing together once more.
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 3, 2020
Westbrook and Beal are redundant together on the Wizards. John Wall was a far better fit on the roster, and even he and Beal weren’t a particularly scary duo. This marriage is doomed to fail, and general manager Tommy Sheppard would be wise to get ahead of it by capitalizing on Beal’s trade value while it’s still extremely high.
Last year Beal averaged a career-best 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 57 outings. Numbers like that can net you a player like George in return, for now. But if Beal comes out and torpedoes his trade value in three months, that can all change.
George is still a tremendous player. He shot a career high 41.2 percent from beyond the arc during the regular season, while also averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. On defense, although at times he looked a little less spry than in years past, he was still arguably the Clippers’ best on-ball defender.
Classic Kawhi. https://t.co/OGRgnoKTMZ
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 1, 2020
A Westbrook-George tandem in the East could make a lot more noise than they did in the West.
The nice thing about this proposed deal is that everyone wins – which is a rarity when it comes to most NBA trades. Usually there are very clear-cut winners and losers, but in this particular scenario everyone addresses their biggest issues without getting significantly worse.
Will this transaction ultimately occur? It’s impossible to say. Should it? Absolutely.