Bradley Beal recently opted out of the Tokyo Olympics after being placed in COVID-19 protocol. However, it looks as if Jayson Tatum may have managed to get his recruiting claws into his lifelong friend beforehand.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the sweepstakes to acquire the Washington Wizard’s All-Star guard could be ramping up in the coming days, with the Boston Celtics believed to be on a shortlist of teams Beal would welcome a trade to.
Beal does not have a proverbial list of preferred destinations, but it was mentioned by multiple sources that he would welcome joining teams such as Boston, Golden State, Miami or Philadelphia — although Beal requesting a trade would all but guarantee an expansive bidding war across the league.
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Beal Could Request Trade Before Draft Night
Beal’s longevity in Washington has readily been brought into question in recent months. And while a late-season surge by the Wizards helped the 28-year-old sniff the postseason for the first time in three years, his contract situation has always lent its hand to a potential exit. Beal has just one guaranteed year remaining on his deal before a player option kicks in. Yet, it turns out we may not need to wait nearly that long to see the St. Louis native donning new digs.
Fischer noted that “word has reached front offices around the league that Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is considering requesting a trade prior to Thursday night’s event.”
For the longest time, loyalty has been a major sticking point in Beal possibly seeking greener pastures in his playing career. The three-time All-Star admitted to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears a year ago that he “hates change” and is “kind of loyal to a fault.” The guard’s agent, Mark Batelstein, essentially echoed these comments to Yahoo Sports’ Ben Rohrbach in February, noting that his client “doesn’t want to quit on something” and is “an incredibly loyal guy.”
With that said it appears the tides have begun to turn regarding Beal’s persistence to stay put in D.C., via Fischer:
‘He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,’ one source with direct knowledge of Beal’s thinking told Bleacher Report. For the past year, people familiar with Beal’s dedicated relationship to the Wizards have consistently rebuffed the notion he had interest in playing elsewhere. Yet a second source close to Beal, when contacted by B/R, confirmed the situation is now fluid.
Is Dealing for Beal Worth the Gamble?
As highlighted above, Beal has a $37.26 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign, meaning any team that deals for him would be running the chance of losing his services after just one season. Of course, his willingness to re-up with a team will likely play a huge factor in trade discussions should he ultimately request out of Washington.
The Celtics do have the added benefit of the Tatum-Beal relationship working in their favor. The two have been vocal about their desire to play on the same team for quite some time. Plus, the Celtics star was admittedly “upset” about being stripped of the opportunity to suit up alongside Beal in Tokyo.
Yet, there’s also the Jaylen Brown factor at play. The 24-year-old first-time All-Star is obviously the preferred centerpiece in a Boston deal from Washington’s point of view. Then again, we’ve seen star players dealt for less (see James Harden’s Nets trade package for reference). In that case, players such as Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Evan Fournier (sign-and-trade) and so on, could theoretically be combined in a suitable package. However, things would likely have to go south extremely quickly between the Wizards and Beal for a non-Brown package to truly pique Washington’s interest.