For the first time since the offseason began, the Golden State Warriors have tipped their hand.
With the NBA draft just one week away and two lottery picks in the chamber, the Warriors have made it clear they’d like to trade that ammunition for a big gun to join their already staggering Big-3 of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Specifcally, Golden State brass has its eyes on Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who is entering the final two years of his contract and may be available this season, if he isn’t already, based on both rumor and simple logic.
Marcus Thompson, of The Athletic, broke the news of the Warriors’ interest in the three-time All-Star on Wednesday, July 22, citing unnamed sources within the Golden State organization.
“Some on the Golden State Warriors are watching closely the next move of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal,” Thompson wrote. “Should he become available, he’s at the top of the offseason wishlist.”
Heavy Hitter Like Beal is Priority For Warriors Veteran Players
Thompson made clear that the Warriors’ trio of franchise players have been unambiguous with upper management about their priorities from the moment the season ended in May — they want to use the team’s assets to land another superstar caliber player.
Curry, Thompson and Green “have made it clear to management they want the franchise to focus on the pursuit of a championship, even to consider using their two lottery picks to get someone who can help immediately, sources confirmed,” according to Thompson’s article. “Warriors general manager Bob Myers said their goal this offseason is to add more of a veteran presence.”
Beal hits that bar and then some. He has been selected to the All-Star Game in three of his previous four seasons, and was named a third-team All-NBA player this year. The 28-year-old shooting guard finished second in scoring last season, behind only Curry, averaging 31.3 points per game. It was his second consecutive campaign averaging more than 30 points per outing.
Beal stands 6-feet, 3-inches tall, weighs 207 pounds and will be entering his tenth year in the league when next season begins.
According to Thompson’s article, Beal also “…is deemed to be the best player and best fit for the Warriors among the players who could potentially be available this offseason.”
Golden State is also interested in Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, though he is under contract for several years and has publicly stated he does not intend to demand a trade this season. Thompson also reported that members of the Warriors organization do not believe Lillard would be interested in joining Golden State were he to ask out of Portland.
Will Beal be Available?
The only question that remains is Beal’s level of interest in Golden State, and Washington’s willingness to trade him now. The Wizards had a couple of formidable teams earlier in Beal’s career when he was paired up with point guard John Wall. And Washington made a run to the playoffs this season, by way of the play-in tournament, led by Beal and Russell Westbrook.
Beal has repeatedly said he will not request a trade out of Washington, but it might behoove the team to make a move sooner than later. The Wizards are not a title contender as presently constructed and Westbrook, a player who relies on his athleticism, will only see his skills wane with time.
Beal has two years left on his deal for a total of $71.8 million, but the second year is a $37.3 million player option, meaning the Wizards’ leverage to get a king’s ransom in return for their All-Star shooting guard evaporates at this year’s trade deadline.
The Warriors could package the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the upcoming NBA draft as central pieces to any deal. They also have big man James Wiseman entering the second year of his rookie contract to further entice Washington.
The roughly $30 million per season the Warriors owe Andrew Wiggins over the next two years could help the money work out, and Golden State would also likely be willing to part with future draft capital, as the addition of Beal would solidify their place among the NBA’s elite franchises for the next several years to come.
The deal makes sense for everyone involved, though the clock could be ticking, with the draft set for Thursday, July 29.