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LA will target Bradley Beal in trade if unable to swing deal for Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal

If New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson gets her way, there’s no way Anthony Davis will be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan said earlier this week that Benson would only deal the Pelicans’ franchise player to the Lakers “over [her] dead body.” Does that sound like an owner who would ever be willing to capitulate to Los Angeles, honoring Davis’ wish in the process? Not quite.

Don’t fear, though, Lakers fans. According to Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, general manager Rob Pelinka and company could quickly shift their focus to another star player whose team might trade him ahead of free agency if Davis proves unavailable – Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.

“The Lakers have other players they’re targeting in trades, according to league sources. Chief among them is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, though with the Wizards not yet hiring a front office honcho, no decision has been made whether to trade Beal. But LA will be in position to make an attractive offer if Beal is put on the block.”

Beal won’t become a free agent until the summer of 2021, but given the Wizards’ clotted cap sheet and lack of young talent on the roster, it’s broadly expected he prefers to continue his career elsewhere rather than waste precious years of his prime playing for a team without realistic hopes of contention. He’s yet to come close to requesting a trade, though, and it’s unclear whether the Wizards, still without a personnel decision-maker in the front office, will be content committing to a full-scale rebuild by trading their best player.

Still, the news that Los Angeles has a contingency plan in place for Davis is a helpful reminder that the purple and gold’s hopes don’t lie with him alone. Beal obviously isn’t on Davis’ level as a player, but his addition would nevertheless go a long way toward ensuring LeBron James and the Lakers get back to the playoffs next spring.