The Golden State Warriors have the will to make a blockbuster trade before the NBA draft begins later this month. The question is: Do they have a way?
Time is running short for President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers and company to set in place the framework of a deal that can return what the Warriors trio of superstars have expressed openly and emphatically that they want for the stretch runs of their careers — a fourth superstar caliber player.
Golden State has been tied to a bevy of big names including Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, and Ben Simmons. But there are complications surrounding each one.
“After multiple reports suggested Lillard could ask out of Portland, he clarified last week that such rumblings were inaccurate,” Connor Letourneau wrote Friday, July 23 in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Simmons, currently the only All-Star known to be shopped by his team, is also unlikely to land with the Warriors. The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player. Per a league source, Golden State wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.”
Warriors Prime Trade Focus Now Bradley Beal of Washington Wizards
Golden State brass already had its eyes fixed on Bradley Beal, of the Washington Wizards. And with the news surrounding Lillard and Simmons, that is perhaps truer now than ever before.
Beal 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’ express interest in the three-time All-Star on Wednesday, July 22, citing unnamed sources within the 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.”
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all reportedly back the potential move, according to Thompson.
The trio “…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.
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.”
Multiple Reports Indicate Lillard Out of Bounds For Warriors
As disheartening as it may be for some fans to hear, the Warriors were likely not shocked by Letourneau’s report, at least not as far as it regards Lillard.
Lillard 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.
Beal, however, is another story. He, too, has said he does not plan to ask for a trade out of Washington, but that franchise is in a considerably different situation with its superstar than the Trailblazers are with theirs.
It might behoove the Wizards to make a move sooner than later. Washington is not a title contender as presently constructed and the team’s second star, Russell Westbrook, is a player who relies on his athleticism. He likely will only see his skills wane with the passage of 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 with this year’s trade deadline.
It only makes sense that the Warriors would have any deal in place before the NBA draft, scheduled for Thursday, July 29, as their trading partner is likely to reap the benefits of Golden State’s two lottery picks at No. 7 and No. 14, among several other key assets including second-year front court player James Wiseman.
The potential trade scenario for Beal demands haste on both sides, which means the next six days could prove a whirlwind, the end of which might see the Warriors with a substantially different look.