He could be the player who can turn around the Warriors’ fortunes in the short term and play an enormous role for the team in the long term. There’s nobody in the NBA who is more sought-after as we approach the end-of-March trading deadline, and no team is better-positioned to land him than Golden State. Only problem is that the player, the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, has not informed the team that he wants to be traded.
Quite the opposite, in fact, according to a report.
Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, The Athletic reported that Beal, “has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded.” Additionally, it was reported that the Wizards are maintaining their position on not trading Beal and that Beal is, “privately frustrated and confused with the perpetual portrayal of his situation. … After seeing other players take criticism for requesting to leave teams, those sources say Beal feels he’s getting nitpicked for choosing to stay in D.C.”
NBA veteran and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins’ “Save Beal” ad surely did not help:
Kendrick Perkins made a "Free Bradley Beal" ad pic.twitter.com/O7AJjBCEMI
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) January 31, 2021
That is not great news for the Warriors, who would like to see Beal placed on the trade market sooner rather than later—certainly ahead of this year’s draft, in which Golden State holds Minnesota’s pick. That pick is projected to be in the Top 3, which should put the pick well in range to be used on a potential star in this year’s loaded draft. For Washington, that would be a huge draw to a Warriors package.
Beal Leading the NBA in Scoring
Beal is the most sought-after and most-discussed trade chip on the market this season, and with good reason. He is leading the NBA with a career-high 34.9 points (first in the NBA), shooting 47.9% from the field and 34.0% from the 3-point line. He is also averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
He has blossomed into superstardom in the last two seasons, after he averaged 30.5 points per game in 2019-20. But along with his rise came a Wizards downfall, with a serious injury to John Wall, the trading away of Otto Porter and an overall gutting of the roster.
Bradley Beal was going through it on the bench. pic.twitter.com/OFLbkdbVMe
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2021
The Wizards have seen a decrease in wins each of the last five years, from 49 in 2016-17, to 43 the following year, then all the way down to a 32-50 record in 2018-19. In last year’s pandemic-shortened season, the Wizards went 25-47. Currently, they are 4-12, on pace for the fifth-worst winning percentage in franchise history.
The losing has been frustrating to Beal and he has done little to hide it. That has led to assumptions that Beal would, finally, in his ninth season in Washington, ask to be traded. While the Wizards front office is steadfast on not moving him, that would change if Beal approached the team asking for a deal. He can be a free agent in 2022.
Warriors Would Have a Stacked Package for Bradley Beal
The fact that the Warriors have Minnesota’s pick, plus last year’s No. 2 overall pick, James Wiseman, automatically puts them at the front of the discussion for Beal. The Warriors could also be in position to add another first-round pick, and would have to include either Kelly Oubre or Andrew Wiggins to make the salary numbers work.
There are not many teams that could match the Warriors’ package—perhaps Denver would be the Dubs’ top competition. But until Beal is miserable enough in Washington to ask for a trade, all that the rest of the NBA can do is wait.