Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Other teams would love to make a deal with the Wizards for two-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal. Washington has little or no interest in engaging in discussions about Beal, but because the Wizards continue to be a wayward franchise with a new front office and a second consecutive trip to the NBA lottery on tap, the rumors persist.
Beal is averaging 30.5 points and 6.1 assists this season, both career highs. though he has been in the NBA for eight years, he is only 26.
So who’s next in the Beal rumor-rama? It’s the Nets, who are said to have had internal discussions about acquiring Beal as a third cog to go alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. While that’s likely true, it’s helpful to remember that Winnie the Pooh has frequent internal discussions about acquiring honey, but it does not always work out for him.
The latest on Beal comes from veteran NBA writer Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, on the Nets beat. He writes that Brooklyn, “discussed avenues of acquiring Wizards guard Bradley Beal, the Daily News has learned.”
The Nets do have assets to offer if Washington were interested, or if there were another third star the team wanted to bring aboard. Guards Spencer Dinwiddie (signed for two years after this one, at $23.7 million, with an option on 2021-22) and Caris LeVert (three years, $52 million after this one) are their most attractive chips, as well as Philadelphia’s first-rounder in this draft and six second-rounders in the next two drafts.
Wizards Bought Time with Bradley Beal Contract Extension
But Washington has been clear when asked by teams around the league that it is not interested in finding a new home for Beal. The Wizards and Beal agreed to a contract extension before last season started, worth $72 million over two seasons, though the second year is a player option.
What the contract essentially accomplished was to push back the date on the decision Beal and the Wizards would have to make, to allow for point guard John Wall to get healthy and to see how Washington to remake the team with younger players. Promising seasons from young players Troy Brown and Rui Hachimura have the Wizards upbeat about the future.
The question will rest on how bullish Beal is about the future with the Wizards. Because there will be only one full year left on his deal once next season gets underway, there will be a watch on for how Beal views the state of the Wizards. He could, much like Anthony Davis did last season in New Orleans, put pressure on the organization to trade him by indicating he would not re-sign long-term.
Teams Would Line Up in a Bradley Beal Sweepstakes
In that case, the Nets would hardly be the only team in the Beal market.
The Heat have long had interest in Beal and approached Washington about a deal for Beal last summer. Miami was hoping Beal would be on the market in 2021, when the Heat will have ample cap space and are expected to make a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Same can be said of the Raptors, who are also expected to be in the Antetokounmpo market but would like to secure a second star to go with Pascal Siakam. Toronto had approached Washington with a trade in mind before he signed his extension last summer, too.
The Celtics inquired about Beal, too, but some of the offers speculated upon in such a trade—Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, and a first-rounder was one—were never close to anything the Celtics would have given up. Indeed, unless the Wizards want Gordon Hayward, it’s unlikely any talks would ever pick back up.
There are, too, the Lakers, who will be seen as a potential landing spot for most big-name players on the market as long as they have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and maintain their pristine cap space number in 2021. Signing Antetokounmpo n free agency is their target but a chance to trade for Beal would be welcomed. Lacking young assets and tradeable draft picks, though, limits the Lakers’ ability to make a credible offer.
Plenty of teams want Beal. Problem is, the Wizards are one of them and don’t need to trade him.