The New Orleans Pelicans reportedly registered some interest in Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal in the recent past. To make it perfectly clear, the Wizards have been pretty adamant regarding their intentions to keep Beal in Washington — for the time being at least — but things could always change.
If the Pelicans revisit a potential Beal trade in the future, what would they be able to offer the Wizards for the All-Star 2-guard? For starters, rookie sensation Zion Williamson is absolutely out of the question — there’s no two ways about that. As a matter of fact, the very reason why the Pelicans want to bring Beal to New Orleans is in order to pair him with the phenom.
Outside of Williamson, however, everything else should be on the table.
Right now, the Pelicans have a number of valuable assets at their disposal, including veteran guard Jrue Holiday (at 29 and with upwards of $53 million in salary over the next two seasons, he likely won’t interest the Wizards), Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, a couple of young and promising talents in Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander Walker, and a slew of future draft picks (thanks in larger part to the Anthony Davis trade).
In this respect, any deal for Beal would require some sort of combination between these aforementioned assets.
A deal centered around Lonzo Ball appears to be the most feasible option. Holiday could easily revert back to his preferred position as the team’s starting point guard, forming an outstanding backcourt pairing with the incoming Beal. Ingram and Williamson would take the forward spots, with Derrick Favors manning the 5 if he sticks around. That’s a starting lineup that would strike fear in the hearts of the opposition.
Along with Ball, the Pelicans would likely have to send guys like Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Washington, as well as a number of draft picks. That’s an undeniably steep price to pay for New Orleans, but one that would be worth considering, though it’s unclear how much interest the Wizards would have in Ball with John Wall around. (Perhaps Wall is trade as well?)
If the Pelicans don’t send Ball to Washington, then they would almost certainly have to part ways with Ingram. Between the two former Los Angeles Lakers teammates, Ingram is easily the more valuable asset New Orleans would want to keep. However, if this would bring Beal to the team, then it’s still a deal the Pelicans should green-light.
Ingram is currently averaging a career-best 24.3 points on 46.6 percent shooting to lead all scorers on the team. The 22-year-old just made his All-Star debut in February, and at this point, he is the Pelicans’ most promising young player not named Zion Williamson.
Nevertheless, if you were going to choose between Ingram and Beal, most folks would likely lean toward the latter. A Holiday-Ball-Beal-Williamson-Favors starting five may not be as attractive as the one above, but still, it might just be enough to push the Pelicans into contender status.
The Wizards enter a rebuilding phase the moment they part ways with Beal. Ingram would be an excellent stud to build around, and along with the future draft picks Washington would demand in the deal, it appears that they would have gained enough assets to start the next phase of their franchise.
There’s also a chance the Wizards would demand both Ingram and Ball in a trade package, which would make things a bit more difficult for New Orleans. Still, given Beal’s talent, it might just be worth it.