There are a few famous intersections in Los Angeles that people know, even if they’ve never stepped foot in the city. Hollywood & Vine, for example. For the past year or so, there’s been a new LA corner that gets even more mentions — the corner of Westbrook & Trade.
That is, the intersection of Russell Westbrook, the Lakers star guard who doesn’t quite fit, and Trade Rumors, which never quite abate.
The Lakers haven’t been able to cross the street yet, but that doesn’t stop the speculation. All summer it was Westbrook for Kyrie Irving or… fill in your own name.
The latest famous name to ponder the busy intersection at Westbrook & Trade is Bradley Beal, the longtime Washington Wizards scoring machine who’s still in his prime at 29.
Beal is tantalizing to some Lakers fans because he can flat out shoot — and the current Lakers mostly can’t. (Beal, alas, wouldn’t solve the Lakers’ ineptitude on defense.)
But as with almost all NBA rumors, the idea looks better on the court than in the accounting office. Westbrook has a BIG contract and so does Beal — he’ll be paid $57 million for the 2026-27 season. You read that right. The money is a helluva drug, as Rick James used to say. It gets in the way sometimes.
"Cocaine is a hell of a drug" Rick James pic.twitter.com/ATKcUI0W2D— Secret Drug Addict (@ScrtDrugAddict) April 23, 2020
The hoops media is chiming in, mostly with the same balk, here expressed well by Sam Quinn at CBS Sports. Quinn says: “Myles Turner and Buddy Hield make way more sense for the Lakers than Bradley Beal.”
Those two Indiana Pacers are always on their way somewhere in the rumor mill — is Hield & Trade a street in Indy?
I think this an unpopular opinion but here goes: I think Myles Turner and Buddy Hield make way more sense for the Lakers than Bradley Beal.— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) November 10, 2022
One star does not fix this. The Lakers need shooting and defense. But the Lakers care more about famous people than having a coherent team.
Fans and players have stood on the corner of Westbrook & Trade so often they no longer believe. Lakers fans have become great at expressing doubt and disdain at the same time. Here’s one fan:
“IMO these leaks are not serious and are always used to appease the fans and give them the illusion that the FO is looking for ways to improve. On the other hand Beal is exactly what Pelinka likes and willing to give up assets for: a small guard who can’t defend & is often injured.”
Take that, Lakers management! Others agree: “Bingo! Beal has no interest in leaving DC. All smoke and mirrors by the Lakers front office.” But to what end?
You can’t fix the Lakers record with rumors. Maybe some day they will cross the street. Or another one? Davis & Trade is an intersection that appears to be growing in fame.