Anthony Davis has been one of the most successful players in the league in his eight NBA seasons. Realistically, his best days are still ahead at age 27. The Lakers await his decision on a contract that will either coincide with LeBron James’ deal or set the franchise up with another titular big man for years to come. If it’s the latter, the Lakers could be gearing up to prepare for elder LeBron, Davis, and another prospect to create a legendary trio. Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka spoke at length about those aspirations on The Woj Pod.
Naturally, Lakers Nation curiosity is peaking. The “summer” of 2021 free-agent class is filled with heavy hitters, but I have a feeling that the prize is beyond that season. The plan is likely flanked by a few factors. The first is the expectations. Does this player see their current situation resulting in an NBA championship? Can their respective franchise put together a contender? Secondly, the options ahead for that player. Are they looking at the ability to enter free agency early? Would they be willing to re-up in Los Angeles? For these reasons, I think that the Lakers have their eyes on potential 2022 free agent Bradley Beal.
Next season will be pivotal in his career’s next chapter. The Washington Wizards will have a healthy John Wall to pair alongside the second-leading scorer in the NBA during the 2019-20 season. But just how healthy is Wall? He’s coming off injuries consisting of bone spurs and a torn Achilles. To add to this challenge, you have teams that are far ahead of them, which presents a real possibility that the Wizards may not even get to compete in the playoffs.
As it stands, Beal appears to be happy where he is, and his most recent statement is no different than what I expect a player under a max contract to answer from the podcast, On The Road with Buck and Phil:
[Playing his entire career in Washington] would mean the world, man. I’m a loyal guy. I want to be here. I’m here. I’ve signed my extension. And that will mean the world to me. That honestly would you know, being able to finish your career in one place? You know, you don’t see that in today’s game…
“My ultimate goal is to win. I want to win and we got to win. And I know we can win. I know it’s a place where we can win and I know it’s a place where we can get guys to come here to win. But we got to go prove it on the floor for sure.
Beal has suffered because of the Wizards’ struggles. He missed all-star and All-NBA selections despite gaudy stats of 30.5 points and 6.1 assists per game. These are problems he’d obviously not have when he’s winning. Championship runs would amplify his recognition even further. This could serve as a great extension point if Beal finds his way to LA.
It’s no secret that the Lakers could use more scoring, especially long-range shooting. Beal, for whatever cost, would serve as the remedy here. Last season he shot 38 percent on catch and shoot threes, an area that the Lakers exhibited warts at times in their title run. He also is a great finisher for his size at 68.9 percent at the rim per Basketball-Reference. Beal is just 6’3, but the Lakers have enough size to nullify any concerns.
Beal and Davis are members of the 2012 NBA Draft class. Perfect timetables to put together, especially as LeBron ages. He’s had enough playoff experience to not be too far removed from meshing with the team in big moments.
All of these points serve as wishful thinking. The Lakers are gearing up for the defense of their title and navigating next season’s restrictions. Their flexibility got Davis a ring on his resume, and for Beal, this proposition must be intriguing as hell.