After the Washington Wizards traded for Russell Westbrook in place of John Wall, no one expected them to jump out of the book as a championship contender. Yet what happened was almost brutally unfair.
The Wizards are the last in the Eastern Conference with a 2-8 record, which poses an upside-down scenario for a team that was destined to at least get back into the playoff image this season. Still, many preseason pundits have predicted Westbrook’s trade will lead to a complete dismantling and confusion for Washington, and it certainly is.
If their bad play continues, the easiest solution would be for the front office to get rid of Westbrook after taking such a horrific bet on the old MVP. This obstacle will however be difficult to overcome. Westbrook wasn’t the easiest player for the Houston Rockets to move this offseason, and without Wall’s speculated affiliation, the trade may never have happened.
Trading the old MVP right after getting it could take months and honestly that might not be possible this season unless the Wizards offload extra assets to a willing team. On the other hand, they might not have a choice with Bradley Beal. Beal has been more than patient and understanding with the Wizards organization during all of their falls, but it can be the last straw.
If anything, Beal could still go down Anthony Davis’ path and practically force his way out of Washington. The idea of this creates a real problem for the front office, as its value diminishes the idea that it publicly requests an exchange. Either way, there will be an unlimited number of contenders in the league eager to inquire about Beal’s services. Watching him drop a 60-piece on the Philadelphia 76ers should help in his stock.
Westbrook’s desire to be moved from Houston to play “his game” has so far been the exact cause of the demolition of the Wizards. The 32-year-old’s playstyle focuses on filling in stats to be blunt enough. While he and former teammate James Harden have always craved this style, it never led to a championship. He’s also giving up 5.3 turnovers per game despite his production while continuing his poor drop shots.
Honestly, Beal might already be exploring his alternate options if the season continues to turn bad. These decisions go way beyond this season. He was without Wall for more than a season and ultimately lost him before they could join forces on the pitch again this year. The Wizards haven’t made the playoffs for the past two seasons, and their most recent appearance came in a 2018 first-round outing against the Toronto Raptors.
Their current roster doesn’t really represent much outside of Beal in terms of instant championship aspirations. The young pieces they have are promising for the future, but do nothing to help Beal, 27, who is in his prime.
No, wizards don’t want to trade Beal to end their current discombobulation. But as it is, they may not have much choice in the future.