The NBA offseason is approaching full bloom. The draft tips off on Thursday with free agency soon to follow in the coming days. In other words, big names will soon be on the move. Bleacher Report’s Jason Dumas has reported that the Philadelphia 76ers hope to trade All-Star Ben Simmons by the end of draft night. Another star player whose future could also be linked to Thursday night’s festivities is Bradley Beal.
Per Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, the Golden State Warriors have targeted the Washington Wizards standout and have placed him atop their offseason wishlist. One would think that for Golden State to acquire Beal they’d need to muster up a package including the likes of Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and the No. 7 overall pick — at the very least. With that said, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau has noted that the Warriors don’t actually anticipate any movement on the Beal trade front before they go on the clock.
Whether this holds true or not, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor doesn’t believe it’ll have much effect on the Warriors, as it’s actually the Boston Celtics who are the team that Wizards fans need to be most concerned about plucking their three-time All-Star out of D.C.
“No, not Golden State. Boston is the team that’s a threat to get Beal, in my opinion,” O’Connor told Chris Vernon on The Mismatch podcast.
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Can Any Team Top a Celtics Proposal for Beal?
“The Wizards need to be careful here. Even though Beal is only 28 years old. Even though he has another year left on his contract. He could become a free agent in 12 months,” O’Connor noted, pointing towards Beal’s player option that kicks in after next season. “If you play this wrong here, that value [is] going to dip. He’s going to gain more leverage in order to go to any team he wants to. Whereas right now there is kind of a window that you can go to anybody. You can take the best offer right now. And it just so happens that the teams that would or could make the best offers are probably the teams he might be happy to go to.”
One of those teams that O’Connor highlights is the Celtics. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer recently tabbed Boston among a shortlist of teams that Beal would welcome a trade to. Of course, this has plenty — if not fully — to do with his long-time friend Jayson Tatum’s presence in Beantown. On top of that, the Celtics also have something at their disposal that likely no other team can top should they be willing to bring him to the table — 24-year-old budding star Jaylen Brown.
“Boston, if they were willing to flip Jaylen Brown, if they were, which… maybe who knows. We’re talking about Bradley Beal, a guy who’s scored over 30 points per game two years in a row now,” said O’Connor. “Jaylen Brown’s an outstanding player and he’s younger, but I would understand the logic in doing it. And Beal in Boston could get the opportunity to play with Jayson Tatum, who he calls his little brother. One of his best friends. They’ve known each other since they were little kids. Right, those guys are legitimately tight. This isn’t one of those fake NBA relationships, they are tight.”
O’Connor Signs Off on Brown-Beal Swap
Of course, in an ideal world, the Celtics would be able to both acquire Beal and retain Brown in the process. Though, depending on how disgruntled Beal’s willing to get when it comes to his trade demands, such an outcome could theoretically come to fruition. However, that remains a longshot considering how loyal he’s been over his tenure in Washington.
Having said that, there’s a strong chance this summer that president Brad Stevens will be presented with the opportunity to swap Brown for Beal if he so chooses — an opportunity that O’Connor believes Stevens would be wise to pull the trigger on.
“Yeah I would,” O’Connor said swiftly of trading Brown for Beal before dialing it back a bit. “I mean I love Jaylen Brown. It really depends on what else. I think Jaylen Brown, he’s gotten better every year and he has constantly proven that he can continue to get better. So maybe it would end up looking stupid in the end that you’re trading a 25-year-old guy [turns 25 in October] that turned into an All-Star, 25 points per game scorer. But I really think with Bradley Beal, if you put him in a situation with the right talent around him you’re going to see special things. And with Jaylen Brown, I’m not sure he could hit the threshold of being a 30 points per game guy who can play-make for you. I view him more as that No. 2-type of guy and if you get Beal and Tatum together you get two [No. 1s] in my opinion.”
While we remain fairly adamant in our opposition of unloading Brown, we understand there’s at least a discussion to be had. For as good as he was in 2020-21, the tandem of a healthy Brown and Tatum struggled to keep the Celtics relevant in the East. Then again, you’d be hard-pressed to top a better under-25 duo than Boston already has with the two Jays. For that reason, we say let the two continue to grow and blossom alongside one another.
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