Could Our Town’s Bradley Beal be on the move, to the Los Angeles Lakers? I doubt it. And I’ll explain. But the Washington Wizards star shooting guard is drawing speculation in the trade-rumor mill.

Speaking on “The Crossover” podcast, Sports Illustrated NBA writer Howard Beck said he heard this from a Western Conference executive: Beal could still end up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis and the struggling Lakers. SI’s NBA insider team of Beck and Chris Mannix mentioned the rumors circulated by NBA personnel that suggests Beal “wants to come to California.”

Here’s a portion of Beck’s breakdown of the situation: ”So here was the quote from the Western Conference executive I spoke to who had mentioned this. He says, ‘Washington is the one that I keep thinking that’s going to happen. … [Bradley Beal] got a no-trade clause, he wants to come to California’ — That was an interesting tidbit of this — ‘He essentially can pick where he wants to go (because of his no-trade clause)’ … So that’s the logic that the Western Conference exec was laying out to me, and he said this: ‘Whatever you want to say about (Lakers GM) Rob Pelinka, he’s being smart, he’s taking his time.’”

Landing Beal, a 10-year veteran, wouldn’t be an option unless Beal requests a trade. And Beal has given no indication that he wants out of Washington. And even if he desired a trade, he doesn’t have leverage after signing a five-year, $251 million contract extension before the current season.

Beal has returned to the D.C. lineup after a 12-day absence following a positive Covid-19 test. The St. Louisan and Chaminade Prep alum scored 25 points with six rebounds and six assists in Wednesday’s 121-120 loss to Oklahoma City. Beal, 29 is averaging 21.9 points and 5.7 assists for the ‘Zards this season.

It’s a weird time for Beal in Washington. The massive weight of his contract has created anxiety among the team’s fans. Is he worth the money? Will Beal’s contract be a burden that gets in the way of improving the team? With Beal out of the lineup because of the Covid illness, the Wizards won four consecutive games and looked great. Their ball movement was quick, the passes were sharp, attempted shots were spread around, and the Wizards hit at least 40 percent of their 3-pointers with Beal sitting out. When the official word came out of Beal’s return on Wednesday, The Athletic noted a typical reaction from the fans. One said, “This is not good news.”

Damn. It’s a cold world.


Three Things On the Blues.

1. Defenseman Calle Rosen scored the first goal Wednesday in The Note’s 5-2 victory at Chicago. It was the fourth straight win for the Blues after they broke out of a diabolical eight-game losing streak. And Rosen has been a big part of the turnaround. In the four wins, Rosen has two goals and two assists and the Blues have outscored opponents 7-0 at 5-on-5 with Rosen on the ice. He’s teamed especially well with Niko Mikkola. In 31 minutes of 5-on-5 time over the last four games the Blues have outscored opponents 4-0 with the Rosen–Mikkola pairing on duty. And Rosen-Mikkola have an expected goal-share percentage of 71% in the four games. Outstanding. Rosen is an elite skater. He has plenty of offensive skill. He’s better defensively than he gets credit for. He has to stay in the lineup. It would be ridiculous to put him back in the AHL when the Blues’ injured defensemen return. Rosen is too talented to waste. I may not

2. The line of Jordan Kyrou, Ivan Barbashev and Brayden Schenn has played exceptionally well during the four-game victory streak. The Blues have outscored opponents 3-0 at 5-on-5 when the line is out there, and the line has an expected goal share of 58%. The combination has a 56 percent share of high-danger shots at 5-on-5 over the last four contests.

3. We’re still waiting for the Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko line to erupt. It’s a matter of time. Last season the Blues had a 33-19 advantage in 5-on-5 goals with the line on the ice … and a whopping 43-23 margin in goals in all situations. Buchnevich, Thomas and Tarasenko aren’t playing poorly; not at all. The goals will come.

The St. Louis Battlehawks appear to have the best quarterback room in the league in advance of the XFL relaunch. I don’t think any other XFL team can match STL’s QB draft selections of A.J. McCarron and Ryan Willis. And head coach Anthony Becht chose quarterbacks that can handle two different styles of play. McCarron, 32, is a more traditional drop-back style passer who led Alabama to consecutive BCS championships in 2012 and 2013. McCarron played eight seasons in the NFL, mostly as a backup, but was the starter for the Cincinnati Bengals in their wild-card playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. Willis has a solid passing touch but did very well with designed runs and RPO packages while playing college football for Virginia Tech.

Cards Talk: Mike Petriello of noted the trade between Toronto and Seattle that sent Blue Jays slugging outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to the Mariners for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. But rather than speculate that the Blue Jays will pursue free agent center fielder Brandon Nimmo (Mets), Petriello went another way: Toronto could move George Springer out of center field, and into a corner OF spot, and then pursue another outfielder. And it just so happens that the Cardinals need a catcher, and Toronto definitely is willing to trade one from their surplus. (Most likely Alejandro Kirk or Danny Jansen. “I know everyone’s all OOH NIMMO but a catcher for (Dylan) Carlson or (Lars) Nootbaar or something is probably more likely,’ Pietriello wrote on Twitter.

After Wednesday’s loss to OKC, Bradley Beal praised teammate Jordan Goodwin, the Saint Louis U. alum who hails from Belleville … which makes him a de facto St. Louisan, like Beal. As a after of fact, Beal and Goodwin have known each other for close to 10 years. When asked about Goodwin’s emergence as an effective off-the-bench source for the Wizards, Beal said, “I’m super proud, man. ‘Good’ is a tremendous guy. It makes me beyond proud to see his journey, being a part of his life since he was 14, 15 years old, maybe even younger. Just to see him transition to where he is now — a grown man, dad, playing in the NBA — like, who knew this would happen?”

More Jordan Walker hype: speaking on 101 ESPN, former major-league GM Jim Bowden, an analyst for The Athletic, had this to say when asked how the Cardinals could add to their team to upgrade the offense. Bowden’s answer: “Your biggest acquisition is going to be the promotion of (top prospect) Jordan Walker on opening day. This kid is going to be a superstar. The big bat you want, you (already) have. It’s sitting in the minor leagues and you’re going to get it (next) year,” … and Bowden repeated his prediction of Jordan Walker winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2023.

Miscellaneous Updates: the Boston Celtics have won eight in a row behind St. Louisan Jayson Tatum, who had 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a 25-point win at Atlanta on Wednesday. Boston is 12-3 on the season, and Tatum the NBA with 466 points … The Blues have outscored opponents 16-9 overall and 12-6 at 5-on-5 during their four-game win streak that’s improved their record to 7-8 for the season … through 16 games old friend Davis Perron has five goals and six assists (11 points) and is a minus 1 for the Detroit Red Wings.

Thanks for reading …