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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

NBA Trades That Just Make Sense: Part 2

Part 1 Here

Washington Blows It Up After Implosion

Folks, I’ve done the math. I’ve crunched the numbers. I’ve weighed the options. I’ve wandered around my study in my lab coat, stroking my chin as I pondered. There is simply no way the Los Angeles Lakers and President of Basketball Ops Magic Johnson do not walk away from the dumpster fire that is the Washington Wizards without some loot.

The Wizards rank as one of the NBA’s greatest enigmas. They are a team with highly skilled in-prime talent, a well put together roster with players who theoretically complement each other, a solid coach and continuity in an ever-changing league. For some reason, this team can not put it together.

Since Kelly Olynyk sent them packing in the 2017 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, this team has spectacularly underachieved. They got bounced in the first round after an underwhelming 2017-2018 regular season and have limped out the gates en route to what looks to be another disappointing season year for Washington fans (but hey, the Caps!). The continuous in-fighting amongst the players and coaches has to stop, and they only sure way to do that is to blow this up.

Undeniably, the Wizards harbor two fantastically skilled players and slew of competent role players.Why they all cannot work in the Wizards uniform is above my pay grade, but broken into separate pieces they should be serviceable for any number contenders and up and coming teams. Their two best players, franchise point guard John Wall and All-Star off guard Bradley Beal, should be available to the highest bidder and fetch a handsome reward.

The real coup of these two is Bradley Beal, even though John Wall is the Wizard’s marquee superstar. Wall is a just two seasons removed from a genuine bid for MVP and was in the process of building a case for the best player in the East not named LeBron. However, he has had trouble matching his 16-17 output and criticisms of his ability to carry his teams to wins and being a pest in the locker room have become exacerbated (as well as an albatross of a contract).

Beal on the other hand, is comparatively low maintenance, does not need the ball to be effective on offense, an excellent spot up shooter, and a decent defender who has caught abad rep as a member of Washington’s putrid team defense. In a point guard’s league, Beal is an ideal off-guard who could be a fantastic second or third fiddle on a championship winner.

This is where the Lakers can make this interesting. Any team with LeBron is at least a threat to the NBA throne, and the Lakers are chock-full of great ball-handlers and point guards without an established spot up shooter or take over player that can alleviate some pressure off LeBron. The Lakers are young, and there is plenty of room for optimism that one of their young guys will evolve into the coveted LeBron sidekick. But, even though you won’t see it when he plays, the LeBron’s clock is ticking. Magic Johnson knows this, and they might not have time for their young guys who just might become the player they need.

There is no guarantee with mostly anybody except LeBron on that roster, and Beal is a sure thing. He can score from every part of the floor and zip around screens seamlessly, drawing defenses to him creating space for any one of LeBron, Lonzo, or Rondo.

Some distinct advantages theLakers’ own over everyone else? They are in the West, so the Wizards will never have to really compete with them directly and their conference does not get any better. Also, Magic Johnson does not seem care about the development of Lakers young stars (see: giving up on D’Angelo Russell) and he did not take this job to lose.

He will move heaven and hell to get LeBron that second star, whether he is already on the roster or not. They’ll make the move centering around young forward Brandon Ingram, who will by far be the best asset offered to Washington. Then, throw in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley to make the contracts worth, along with at least one future pick. 

Sixers Declare Fultz a Bust

Markelle Fultz short experience in the NBA can be described as nothing short of a mysterious. Just one draft removed from being the number one pick, Fultz tenure in the league has been…turbulent. Weird. Honestly, I don’t know what to call it. It seems everybody has an opinion on the 20-year-old, and nobody knows exactly what is happening.

Last year’s rookie started the season, shot very oddly, then dropped off the grid for the vast majority of the season and got swept up in the whirlwind of entirely insane storylines that littered the 2017-18 season. There were reports of Fultz suffering from muscular imbalance in his shoulder, having a case of the yips, and attempting to change the shooting form that got him to the NBA in the first place. Maybe it was one of these, maybe it was all of them, maybe it was none but the fact is: Philly did not get the player they thought they had drafted. Not yet, at least.

By the looks of it, Philly has already moved on with their roster. They thought they had their big 3 of the future in Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz yet called an audible in an effort to win now and made the move for veteran star Jimmy Butler. Expediting their championship window, the Sixers no longer seem patient enough to wait and allow Fultz to develop into the contributor they need on a championship team.He doesn’t really fit the time frame anymore, and he isn’t exactly the mold of player they need next to interior dominant players Simmons, Embiid, and Butler.They need shooters, and I’m not sure that will ever be Fultz calling card.

It would be irresponsible and foolish to write off a former number 1 overall pick in his second year completely, even if his current team does not have a use for him. There should be plenty of rebuilding teams in need of a guard that has upside and fits their window. Fultz still has a tremendous amount of potential, and any team who knows their 2018-19 season will not be one defined by winning should take a flier on him. There will be lots of suiters, but Philly holds the cards, and they know what they need.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have one of the greatest shooters ever in Kyle Korver, who would be an absolute nightmare running off of screens and getting the ball wide open off of looks from Ben Simmons with space from all the defensive attention on Butler, Embiid, and fellow lights out shooter JJ Reddick. Reddick himself is not enough to solve the Sixers spacing woes, though playing him and Korver with Philly’s big 3 could be a nightmare nobody has the personnel to deal with.

Philly won’t be getting equal value in this deal, as obviously Fultz is worth more to an NBA team dueto his youth and potential, and Korver is in the twilight of his career. However, pairing him with a future pick or two should close the gap a little and make Philly exponentially better on offense short term.

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